Thursday, October 28, 2010

30 days: hope to do

5/30 - something you hope to do in your life

It's been on my wish list for a long time, now. I don't know when, or how, but it is a clear and present longing, and I hope it gets fulfilled in the next 5 years:

I would like to live on the beach for two years while the boys are young.

I want a door that opens to the beach, to experience beach-front weather, to watch the tide rise and fall, and hear the waves from my bed. I want to frequent tide pools and make friends with seagulls, to find beach sand in the boys beds and rinse it from their hair. I want to make our own curriculum, follow the rhythm of the days, and I want to write a book about it.


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 days: forgiveness of others

4/30. something you have to forgive someone for.

“The holiest of all the spots on earth is where an ancient hatred has become a present love.” A Course in Miracles

I’ve been thinking about forgiveness for over a week now. The dimensions of this practice seem so great – not only can it be an act of self-healing, but it seems like an act of creation, expansion, and allowing. Forgiveness as a force for social change… for building unity versus destruction. It requires a selfless kind of trust, a suppression of the ego, and seems to me the ultimate statement of optimism – a communication of allowing between the forgiver and the Force of creation. It is a statement of equality with others – a recognition that we are all imperfect.

It’s been a powerful mediation just to think about what we offer in service to humanity when we choose forgiveness over resentment. In fact, this meditation has plunged me into the idea of forgiveness so deeply that I wonder at its vastness. Are there hints of wrongs needed to be consciously forgiven that drag on us throughout our lives, blocking us from forward motion? Do I need to be more reflective about resentments I might be unconsciously fostering?

I don’t feel like I hold on to a lot of blaming thoughts. Like everyone, I have been hurt by others in my life; the deepest of those hurts took me years to overcome, and through that path of reflection, sacrifice, and deliberate work, I learned that forgiveness is really only the first step. Just because you forgive someone doesn’t mean the pain is gone – it doesn’t lessen the impact of the hurt caused by whatever the act happened to be.

I’m sure there are many acts of forgiveness waiting for action within my mind and heart. Forgiveness for insensitivities of others, for assumptions made and expectations levied, forgiveness for misunderstood intents and traffic behavior, forgiveness to our leaders, forgiveness for systems and institutions that direct our lives but were not built on a foundation of justice, forgiveness to our Creator for obstacles and pain seemingly placed in my path. .. the list is long, isn’t it?

‘Abdu’l-Baha counseled people to “see with the eye of forgiveness,” and practitioners of mindfulness practice “Teflon mind.” Rather than out people or situations that need my attention in this post, I’m going to take this day of truth as a lesson to myself. A day that lasts longer than a day, and becomes a practice. I’ll loosen the energetic grip of shallow (and deep) resentments and begin to consciously forgive – I’ll breathe more and swear less, pause and give space before rushing to a judgment. I’ll think of my sons and the forgivenesses I pray they will extend to me, and use that wish as a model for myself.

Come, come, whoever you are
Wonderer, worshipper, lover of leaving
It doesn’t matter
Ours is not a caravan of despair
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times
Come, yet again, come, come


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

30 days: self forgiveness

Something you have to forgive yourself for.

2002. Chengdu, Sichuan, China.

2002. Rural Sichuan, China. Rice Harvest.

OK, I'm already struggling with this a bit. I'm not too into public self-recrimination. I was raised to have as one of my core values that we speak directly with our Creator, and so do not offer confession to other people. It does defy some of my blogging, but I think processing is different from confessing.

I guess Day One was so obvious to me - this thing I really find terribly uncomfortable about being myself on a daily basis. I feel largely NOT in control of it. But now... something I have to forgive myself for? It's such a large response, so laden with history, and hopes lost, disappointments and shame. Put this in a blog post?

2006. Rural Sichuan. My father and mother-in-law.

There's something you might not realize when you first get married. In fact, you may never know it with great consciousness unless you find yourself at the end of that marriage; that is, when you marry someone, it is a bond of much more than two individuals. When the marriage ends, there is a great deal more lost than the already hugely significant relationship of those two people.

When D and I met in 2000, we were in his homeland of China. We lived there for two years before coming to the US - and actually, we never intended to stay here for as long as we did. While we were living in China, I grew attached to his parents, his sisters, and especially their children. There are three gorgeous children I met when they were wee things, and I will never see them again. They called me "Niang-Niang" - auntie - they trusted me, and I love them. They are lost to me. D's parents - I'm certain that both he and I ended up being a disappointment to them. Not only for the grandchildren I failed to bear while we were married, but for our weakness - our inability to weather the challenges of life and marriage as a unit.

2002, with my sisters-in-law, my nephew and niece.

2006, with my beautiful niece Ting-ting -
the same critter who is pouting something fierce in the first photo.

Certainly the dissolution of a marriage is not the fault of one person. Our marriage's failure is not something I masterminded. I am sad for mistakes I made, but I am wise enough, and take myself account often enough, to understand that these mistakes were unintentional, and were made trying to do the right thing. Who really cares who's fault it was anyway? But I did fail, and we did lose the family we tried to create, and to that whole family that was once mine... it is for those things that I need to find self-forgiveness. Should I do more to remain a part of these children's lives? I don't feel like I really can.

Thinking about it, though, I'm not sure that it's forgiveness I am needing, as much as time to heal from the loss. Such a sadness. The life I have since created is the one I always wanted, so it's not often I open the grief of what broke along the way.


Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.

Friday, October 15, 2010

30 days: love

The truth for Day 2 is something you love about yourself.

Maybe it's because I'm, well, OLD, but this one comes easily, too. If there's one thing I love about being me, it's the way my creative mind works. I guess this is probably the same for all of us - there's got to just be something in each of us that drives our individual forms of creativity and registers as pleasurable in our brains. For me, though, that spark is ignited in the form of making.

I've been a maker-of-things since I was little. I remember well begging scraps of polyester from the bolts in my grandparents garage, cutting out circles, and making poodle-style skirts for my dolls. Paper dolls, embroidered pillows, ornaments, weaving... I'd make things for my younger siblings, friends, and parents.

My pursuit of making isn't limited to a single medium - I'm just as happy plunging my hands into wet clay or a vat of paper-making material as I am sewing bits of fabric into a quilt. I work contentedly with xacto blades and silk screen presses. I love the thinking aspect of it - guesswork over measurements, moment-by-moment evolution over planning. It's how I create the tangible, and it's also how I have lived my life.

This style of make-and-do also makes me something of a jack of all trades, which has both up and down sides. It's made it challenging for me to focus on a single discipline professionally, since what I love most about work is the learning. I have been equally engaged as an ESL teacher and a marketing director. In college, I loved my chosen field of international development, but wondered if it wouldn't be better to study psychology, or English, or art.

At this point in my life, I am facing yet another professional rebirth - going back to work after a 3-year absence. I'm nearly 40 and have no defined career. No 401k, no retirement savings... and it seems, now that I have two children, that it's probably time to knuckle down and settle on something.

I have postponed my application to a MA in teaching ESL for over a year - a course of study I could do easily but without much inspiration. Now I have found the program of my dreams, and like my long process of becoming a mother, it has led me to examine not just the what-I-can-do of life, but the what-I-long-to-do. It's a risk, but I'm ready to jump off the cliff once and for all. I am applying for an MFA - it gives my stomach a little tug every time I think it - a Masters of Fine Arts. Daring, isn't it, to say this is the thing that makes me special, and then go pursue it with every last shred of energy and resource we have?

This Friday, I am taking another step in the direction of LIVE WHAT YOU LOVE - I'm meeting with someone from the grad school I am going to attend. In the midst of the tremors of insecurity that are plaguing our daily lives right now, this is my light at the end of the tunnel. Just like the risks involved in pursuing motherhood while I was (am) single, pursuing a career in the creative arts seem daunting, but honestly, it's the only thing that feels right.

30 days: hate

Since Korin and Miriam are posting on this, I guess I'll jump in, too.... though you all know that "30 days of truth" will more likely be 30 posts separated by days in between...

Day 1: something i hate about myself

It's easy for me to pinpoint the thing I most hate about myself. It's my core point of self-loathing. It's the issue that keeps me up at night, mind spinning, unable to take a deep breath and calm myself. Everything else, I can accept. Things I don't adore about myself, I can overlook, forgive, and sometimes even embrace. But this one... it's stubborn, unyielding, and has a power over me that I have not yet found a way to counter.

It is: procrastination.

If there were a prescription medication for it, a surgery, or some other miracle cure, I would take it. It's a handicap that I am rarely able to overcome.

I can't say much more about it without hurling abuses at myself, so we'll leave it at that.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

moments of preciousness

beautiful boy

this week they've both started descending stairs with no assistance... scary!

looking for sea lions with auntie

toddler interpretations of words in songs? very funny.

when you decide to follow their lead, you really just have to let go...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

things i found in my bed

it's been a while again. i'm just in an insular place, i guess.

but laurie has been blogging every day this month, and much of it about the boys, which is fun. so, in response to her post "things i found in my boot," i thought i'd share this bit:

do you remember that memory game: "i'm going on a picnic, and in my basket, i will bring..." and then the players name items from a to z? the other night, i was lying in bed, reflecting on how this is what my bed is like these days. here's what was in bed with me earlier this week:

two sleeping toddlers (one hot, sweaty head on each of my shoulders)
5 blankets of various sizes
4 pillows, only one of which was in use
a wooden pull toy frog
at least 7 books, including the final harry potter, 10 minutes 'til bedtime, hug, and several other board books
one sock
a baby bottle
and a doll.

and you know what, i wouldn't change a thing.

ok, maybe i'd change it so we get a little more sleep... ;)

Friday, October 1, 2010

music play

For the last few months, M & S have been very interested in musical instruments. It started with drumming on playskool snare drums at my parents house, and evolved into imagining new instruments out of everyday objects when we returned to Portland. Some of the things that have been turned into various instruments: a small watering can (trumpet), a knife (flute), and a toy lawnmower (? saxophone ?).

One afternoon, Max was dropping into a tantrum, demanding to watch "guitars." The only video we have associated instruments with is a concert DVD, but when I put it on, it was immediately evident that I was wrong (imagine flailing limbs, attempts at biting me, etc). I thought quick on my feet and grabbed some paper they had painted on, cut out an improvised guitar, and struck gold. Soon I had made each of them a guitar, and then cut out a violin, banjo, and colored a keyboard. Genius! They have played with these flimsy toys for 2 weeks already - more than the plastic instruments we already had. They know where to put their hands, know how to "use" a bow, and strum along with their grandpa when he plays his guitar for them on skype.

I love this creative aspect of parenting, and it's really just beginning to open up to me - identifying and pursuing the children's interests. There's so much more fun to come!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

recipe : cider & five spice braised pork shoulder

If you've known me for a while, you'll no doubt remember that one of my favorite things to cook (and eat) is Shanghai Pork Shoulder (recipe here). Well, our household was pretty sad to discover a soy allergy that now prevents us from partaking in this wonderful, bold dish. A few weeks ago, I set out to reinvent the recipe, and I am pleased to tell you that the results are amazing! If you're looking for an Asian-style recipe that is super-easy, bursts with flavor, and works well for both pork and chicken, here's your girl:

Cider & Five Spice Braised Pork Shoulder

4 pound bone-in pork shoulder
2c apple cider
1t Chinese Five-Spice Powder
5 star anise
1/3c oyster sauce
1T salt
1/2c sugar
3 cloves garlic
2 slices fresh garlic

Bring a large stock pot of water to boil, and blanch the pork shoulder for 3-5 minutes - until the outside of the meat is whitened and sealed. Drain and rinse in cold water.

In a medium stock pot, combine all ingredients. Add pork shoulder and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, turning meat every 30-45 minutes. Cook for 2-3 hours - until meat is completely tender and falling off bone.

Uncover, increase heat to bring liquid to boil, and cook until the sauce reduces to approx 1-2 cups or until sauce caramelizes, basting top of pork with the sauce throughout reduction time.

I find this best served with stick white jasmine rice and lightly steamed vegetables. Use the extra sauce (skim fat after it cools) on scrambled eggs, or to toss with noodles.

I hope you'll let me know if you try it - we used the same recipe this week to make chicken in the crock pot, and it was great. If you have a soy allergy, be sure to read the ingredients on the oyster sauce - some brands do contain soy.

Bon appetit, or as the say in China - gan bei!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

ask and you shall receive

I like to say "yes" as much as I can. There are so many limitations Max and Shoghi encounter all day long, that when they ask for something that's not going to do any harm, I try to give them what they want. So this afternoon, when they asked for ice cream, I decided to oblige.

Here is a very happy Shoghi, with Max in the background, talking with me about it:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

the one where she laughs at herself

Remember yesterday? When I posted that I wanted to take the kid's clothes week challenge?



That didn't work out so well. I pretty much sleep-walked through the day, keeping up with the boys, who were also over tired from being up last night. It was also my second night in a row of getting less than 4 hours of sleep. So, the sewing machine didn't make it out today.

However, I will say that I have a plan, and I will also say that maybe I can just celebrate Day 1 with the gift of handmade clothes for my children - because they have brand new pajamas made by their great-grandma.

shoghi-wan kenobi

I think that counts, right?

gaining clarity

illustration by Jen Lemen, Mondo Beyondo

Have you ever felt like there was a time when you really struggled to do something, and it was failing miserably for no apparent reason? Who hasn't, right?

For the past 3 weeks, I have been on a relentless search for a new babysitter, and in that time, my life (our life) has devolved into complete and utter chaos as my need for a nanny has gone on unfulfilled.

At first, my preference was to find a day care center, but it became clear after about, oh, thirty phone calls that this wasn't going to happen. With long waiting lists and minimum age requirements of 2.5 for centers I felt good about, there just was just not any availability. I was surprised to learn how many daycares use television - up to two hours a day. Definitely not cool with me.

So, I changed my search to looking for a nanny. I wrote to friends, talked with former babysitters (who are fortunately now our dear friends), and put the word out into our community. I wrote an ad and posted it on craigslist and on urbanmamas. I emailed about 50 people, heard back from about 15. I interviewed. I called. They rescheduled. It just hasn't been working.

Last night, in the long, long hours when I couldn't sleep, I wondered about this, and realized it's something I've experienced before - I try and try and try for something I feel I need and want, and just end up pouring energy and emotion into one dead end after another.

So I thought to myself:

OK, what if the thing you are saying you want is at odds with what your heart really wants? What is it, if not a simple babysitter, that our family needs? It's time to really pay attention to your heart, rather than your head.

To be honest, I don't have a choice about needing childcare, so the question isn't "do you really want to find childcare for your kids."

I guess the thing I realized last night is that what our family needs isn't a nanny. While the primary job description may read "take care of twin toddlers for 25 hours a week," what our family needs is more like a doula, a grandma, a loving figure who cares about the themes we are playing out, who cares to take the time to be objective about what the present needs are. This may sound burdensome and too large of a job description, but I have friends who are like this who work under the "nanny" job title. We as a family are being birthed into a new phase of our life together - a new phase that will land me either employed outside the home or back to grad school (please, let it be the latter!), will transform Laurie's time and open the space for her to direct energy back into her career as an illustrator, and finally, this change will impact how my sons are socialized, the day-to-day experiences they will have, and the amount of time they spend away from their parents.

In the ad I originally placed online, I wrote that we needed an "adventurous nanny," when in fact, we simply need a nurturer.

I feel a calmness now; I have identified the dissonance that might have been blocking us from finding that person who no doubt would love to nurture our family in this way. Because really, in the end, that's what I believe family is about, and it's the role I believe can be so powerful as a care giver - someone to love us for who we are, where we are, and someone for us to love back.

stitchin' for minhas criancas

So, today kicked off elsie marley's kid's clothes week challenge which of course I forgot about. One hour a day, making clothes for the boys? Sounds good to me. I can't wait to begin!

Instead, I'm sitting up with that dreadful combination of insomnia with a side of nighttime wakings. I dosed myself up with some warm milk and a xanax about a half hour ago, so back upstairs I go now. Looks like another 3 hour sleep night for mama. This month has completely kicked my ass in the sleep department, with my average being 4.5 hours.

Monday, September 20, 2010

little convos

Months ago, we were listening to Max chit chat with his toy animals - he especially liked "ssshhhh, sweepy-time." Now Shoghi is starting little conversations with his toys, and man, it's just re-melting my heart. I really am loving this age - so much is opening up in their little brains!

Friday, September 10, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see here or at soulemama.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


another set of crazy weeks, complete with household economic disaster, sick children and adults, lack of babysitters, and encounters with state agencies i never imagined as a part of my life. oh, and my camera is malfunctioning again, or it might just be the batteries are not charging properly... whatever the case, i haven't had the energy to get to the bottom of it. funny, but without a camera, it's harder to stop on by this old spot.

the boys are changing before my very eyes. even more than when they were tiny babies, now they are two (seriously, how did this happen?!?), and they are just exploding with change. i can assume that pretty soon they will be talking in ways i find more comprehensible, and we will only have as memories words like "baba-zur-zur" (bulldozer), "mo-cicle" (popcicle), and "beeping" (sleeping). they string together these amazing little sentences now: "i climbed up seat!" "i see a red motorcycle!" "no car. go a playground now." and i sense their babyhood falling away.

that's not to say i don't celebrate and relish their changes - i feel like i could dive into each one of them and float in my joy at their little personal triumphs. "i did it myself!" is a new favorite sentence this week, and i have to say, i feel their sense of accomplishment and feel wells of adoration. these little people learn and experience so much in such a precious short time! shoghi suddenly holds his fork, spoon, pens and paintbrush "properly," while max did pee-pee in a potty for the first time... shoghi has had such a fast leap in language skills since july - he's gone from single words all the way to 5 and 6 word sentences, while max has mastered the art of marching, jumping off furniture, and sings along with his favorite (barney, blech!) songs... it's really so incredible that suddenly our home is filled with this child energy.

but still... really for the first time, i have the sense of this major first chapter in their lives coming to a close. the baby years... i can barely type it... they are coming to an end. it's likely that they are going to be my only children, and while i am so happy and content (and overwhelmed, and stressed out) to have both of them, there is a little twinge of sadness along with it that i won't have the opportunity to have babies anymore.

let's be real, too... i think part of it is something that you might only understand if you have multiples, or if you are very close to someone who does... i think part of it is that there really is a loss as a mother/child unit, that i didn't get to have that quiet moment of time with each of my sons as babies. that time when there is just the one baby to focus on, even if there are other siblings already in the family. there's quite a shift that has to happen when mothering twins (or more) - your intentions for how you will attend to your child have to yield to the reality of caring for two children of the same age. there is definitely loss there for me. things i wish i had been able to do differently for each of my boys.

and while i'm talking about leaving these baby years, let me also say that suddenly i am also thinking - or at least feeling (because really, when do i have time to actually think these days) - the strange gulf that occurred for me (and for each of them?) during those long four weeks they spent in the NICU. it's still so hard for me to accept that this hospital was not set up to allow parents to stay there 24 hours a day... the fact that my fragile little babies were there without me - without anyone except the NICU staff - for hours each day.... ugh, i get a pit in my stomach just thinking about it. it's one thing that i actually do have regret about - that i wasn't there for all of it. that i didn't somehow find a way to be with them every moment of their first breaths, their cries, their certain bewilderment at how it felt to be removed from the warmth of my womb and placed on those hard beds, with masks on, air on their exposed skin, the billi-lights... ugh. it's horrible, and i desperately wish i had done differently, even though i did the best i could do at the time...

so anyway, here we are. summer is falling away into blessed autumn. the rains are returning, and the air is cooler. my life is about to change as i find a job, as the boys transition into 20 or more hours a week of day care. and my babies... my strong, fast, persistent, funny, cheeky, introspective, determined, lovely boys are stepping into themselves.

Friday, August 20, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

cheers and a happy weekend to you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

showing up

more silence from celeste. two crazy busy weeks, with literally every moment occupied with more than one task as the demands of crafting for the farmer's market, stumbling over piles of things-in-progress, running after my sons, playing, shopping, cooking, discussing parenting challenges with my sister, fighting the recently constant tide of depression, worrying about money, wondering what to do next.

i never want to write these things here. many blogs i love are all about beauty, about finding the beauty in the moment, usually hiding the recent chaos, the piles of laundry, the dirty dishes. the writing is excellent, the photos polished, gorgeously framed, glowing with light and passion and love. i'd love to come here with daily writing about my amazing boys, about successes in mothering, growth as an artisan, discovery in homemaking and leave out how daunted i am, how overwhelmed and lost in this land of single and unemployed twin parenting.

so it turns out that the heavy task of shaping my current surroundings into something exclusively happy and shiny, or just having the brain power to sit quietly and suss out the beauty of my days, this prevents me from writing at all. i don't keep a paper journal. and because i'm afraid to be judged for my faults, afraid to frame myself in negativity (which is also not true or complete by any means), i stop writing. i stop communicating with myself save some brief quiet moments when i first lie down on my bed at night, those moments before my dark whispering ego selves start their insistent conversations and keep me up in the late hours of the night.

so what do i do? i guess i'm going to just try to write it down. i hope if you decide to keep reading that you'll read my words with a wider lens, knowing that if i'm talking about lack of this or that, or a particular parenting test, or what have you, that it's only here because i'm trying to figure it out. have to write it down. want to remember these dominant lessons, the ones that are thorny and sting, along side the ones that unfold easily in luscious colors and textures.

because that's really how life is, isn't it?

i've been feeling for quite some time that i'm in a very "live and let live" phase of my life. so i'm going to exercise the same expansive allowance for myself to just show up and celebrate the mess along with the beautiful.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


We've been back in Oregon for over a week now, and that week was such a gift. My mom came back with us, giving me a whole lot of time to clean, find buried paperwork, move rooms around (Shoghi, Max, and I are all back to sharing one room), and work on new items for my next farmer's market appearance on 8/15.

Back in the spring, I discovered a new creative hobby - hand carving stamps for printing. I did three of them, beets, a pomegranate, and a pear.

one of my three original carvings - pear

After that initial burst of inspiration, my tools sat idle, despite the fact that I toted them around, even taking them with me to Massachusetts.

While Mom was here, though, I had some time alone (in a cafe while a flat tire was being repaired), and found my hands immediately knew just what to do. I made three new designs, just like that, and I am so pleased with them!

I got right to work printing, then redesigned my card backs and created new textile prints.

i found a zigzag stitch font to use on my card backs - love it!
i'm going to use this branding now "hand crafted" for everything i make - this is the umbrella brand under which 70s home and bamboo village press will fall.

i printed the apple and strawberry on fabric, then turned them into iron-ons for these infant/toddler shirts. i'll be carrying the patches, too, so folks can make their own.


i just finished this zucchini - i haven't printed it except this test print.

A boundless thanks to my mom (and my dad, who spent the week missing her). Now that I have some new images to work with, my booth is going to be all the better! The next 10 days are going to be filled with time at the sewing machine, working on produce bags, since I am all out!

Friday, July 23, 2010

this moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Toddlers. They sure do get sick a lot. Max fell prey to the latest round of ick over the weekend, postponing our plans to travel to see my grandma and aunties, significantly decreasing our sleep, and making life miserable. Oh, that boy - he bears his fangs when he's not feeling well. The temper tantrums have been epic, and the attempts to bite his brother in dismay and frustration endless. I'm glad to have just read this article about temper tantrums - it's been good to know that after a couple of attempts at solving his frustrations, I can just hold open the space for him to freak out.

Holding space is about all we've been doing since my brother left on Saturday and sister left Sunday. Taking things slow, while still trying to keep things moving for the boys so they don't have to fend each other off all day. It's not that they fight... in fact, I wouldn't say they ever really fight. It's just that sometimes it's like they're magnets with opposite sides trying to connect - they just need space from each other periodically throughout the day, and really, who doesn't? They are so intense at this age, so driven by impulse, so involved in learning and concentrating, social discovery and attempt at connection through language. Not only do they have to figure out how to deal with the grown-ups in their lives, they have to face their twin who is going through the exact same developmental process. It's exhausting for us all, and they're so small and vulnerable - I definitely feel that it is my job to give them a buffer, whether it be planned outings, time spent 1:1 with their grandparents, time in the back carrier, or quick-moving changes in activity.

Anyway, I'm waiting, waiting for Max to be well again. The terrible coughing, the fever, the crying at the obvious pain of the coughs.... it's just so unbearable. I want my stomp-dancing, silly-talking, tickle-loving boy back!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

sandwich marina playground

If there's one thing I know about being a mom of twin toddlers, it's that you have to keep busy, even on vacation. My imaginings of our trip home being chock full of restful hours were pure folly. Every morning, we know we need to pack up and get out of the house by 8/8:30, or face a morning of whining, biting, and general unhappiness for all. Our day starts early (a ghastly 5:30am since we got here), so nap time starts at 11/11:30. By 2:30, we're ready to head out again, and rediscovering the gorgeous beach on Wakeby Lake in the woods of the Mashpee Holly Reservation, we usually head there for a swim in the afternoons. Mornings, then, have been reserved for playgrounds and errands.

We decided to take a drive to Sandwich on Friday for some good morning fun with Uncle Simon, and thought we'd take the boys to the Cape Cod Canal to check out some boats. Instead, we took a wrong turn and ended up at the Sandwich Marina, where we had some surprise delightful fun at their beautiful nautical-themed playground. If you're looking for a quiet spot to play, Cape Cod views, and a playground that is fun for all ages, you should check this place out.

I found this to be an especially good place for toddlers, since there were so many options for play, exploration, heights, and level of daring. There are attractions for older kids, too, with a working periscope in the big climbing apparatus. It's also fenced and right by the water, so there was a nice breeze. I imagine it gets busier (and hotter) as the day draws on, but at 9am, it was perfect.

Friday, July 16, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Monday, July 12, 2010

playground happiness

I can't help it - there were just too many good pictures from yesterday's two playground excursions to share only one. I can't get over how big my boys are getting, and then again, there are moments when I look at their miniature bodies and awe at their small fragility. This age of discovery is so miraculous (and exhausting)! We went morning and evening to Mashpee Heritage Park yesterday, and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly on the Tiger Long Memorial Playground, named for a boy I grew up with and who was killed serving (I believe) in Iraq in the 90s.

max "kwimin' teps"

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

traveling velcro board

I mentioned the other day that I made several things for the boys to play with on our cross-country flight. One of the goodies in my stash was a box that I covered with velcro strips inside and out, inspired by this post on Chasing Cheerios. Since we were traveling, and I had no wooden boards on-hand, I thought a little box would be a good stand-in, and would hold the toys with the opposite strip to boot.

I tried to find objects that were both familiar and novel to the boys, so I included things like their favorite chicken figure, a smooth beach stone, a wooden Buddha, a pom-pom, a sequin flower, and several other objects.

The "game" is a nice quiet activity for single play. Because the box is light and a little big for the boys laps, it is a little hard for them to pull the toys off the velcro. I think when I make it again, I would make it on a mat, with a big, rectangular piece of velcro for them to stick the objects to. I'd like to sew straps onto a mat so it could be secured to a variety of surfaces, like the airline seat tray, high chair tray, back of a seat in the car, etc. It's cool to see them stick something vertically, so that it unexpectedly doesn't fall off... so I might add another square and mount it on the wall. Perhaps it would even be fun to mount several squares next to each other, one velcro, one magnetic, one cork or something like that.

Today Shoghi brought out the box again and played with much more attention than on the plane. It's so much fun to see these little ones concentrate and try to figure out something new, and an extra pleasure to see something I made in their hands!

on the cutting board

Took a few moments today while the boys were napping to unpack, iron and cut some new fabrics for produce and bulk food shopping bags. I nearly sold out at my last appearance at our neighborhood farmer's market, so I'd better get busy! I'm loving the green and black ticking fabric I got just before flying to MA - it's such a classic household look, plus it's woven fabric rather than printed, which I feel is a bonus. I'm really enjoying woven cottons these days, for their warp-and-weft feeling, their kitchen handiness, and simple beauty.