Monday, January 28, 2008

To Gramma Mona

Hi Gramma Mona,

It is Mason and Owen here. We just wanted to say hello because we were thinking about you the other day and we hope you are doing really well in Or-e-gon. It has been a really long time since we saw you so we wanted to show you some things that we can do.

I (Owen) learned how to entertain people, especially my little brother Mason (well, littler by 6 ounces and 1 1/2 inches). I love making people laugh when I am in the mood. Here is a funny video of me when I learned that this toy can have a second life. Hope it makes you laugh, Gramma.

And I (Mason, here) have something really special to show you. I know you have heard me laugh over the phone, but it is just not the same if you can't see my face. Because when I laugh I smile really big and everyone around me laughs too. So here is a really funny video of Mama making me laugh when she was pretending to sneeze (a lot). She wouldn't stop and I ended up laughing really hard so make sure you watch the whole thing.

We love you so much, Gramma Mona, and we can't wait to get up to Or-e-gon with Mamma and Daddy to see you and the family.

Big hugs and kisses from us, The Beans.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ninth Month

I blinked and this month passed by. What is it about time as we grow older? How do we lose those moments so quickly now? Do you, my babies, my boys, feel time yet? It has been a month of discovery and changes that rapidly increase. I watch as concepts become part of your world and I marvel that this is all new to you and all unfolding.

This month you both discovered the concept of space and time. I know this because I watched as over and under and through became part of your physical vocabulary. You understand that you can breach the gates (quite easily I might add) and follow us when we leave your baby room (once our living room but now fully surrendered to toys and mats, a baby jail galore).
You climb under blankets and over pillows, on top of Mama and Daddy and through whole piles of toys to get what you want. I watch as you reach into your toy box to retrieve an attractive item, usually a box or some other enticing non-toy that worked its way into the melange of toys. It fascinates me to see these new ways, it is such a testament to your growing map of the world and the amazing way your brains just soak up knowledge and experience and beauty.

Ninth months have passed and I once read a post by my favorite Superhero that commented on 9 months in, 9 months out. In your case it was eight but I do understand the significance. The journey of your becoming started that long ago and to see where it is today brings a true sense of wonder for the beauty that is creation. It starts the same for each one of our children, each one of us, and then we become people, unique and individual. We have the privilege of watching this happen for two and I love the perspective we have gained by being blessed by twins.

I know I have read many mamas comment on the fact that things got easier for them around 6 months, but for me it was this month. The issues surrounding those early days were ones we all experience as new parents, sleep, eat, activity, etc. those issues are still daily challenges, but it is different. You can play while Mama knits a bit or does some housework. You can self-entertain and self-feed a bit. You can ‘tell’ me better what your needs of the moment are. And I think you can understand that we have set a routine to our days so that at nap time, you understand tired and surrender with less protest and sometimes audible relief when sleep comes.

I as Mama feel better too, every passing month seems to bring a bit of balance and a return of pieces that feel like me. Combining my Self with Mama Self is getting easier and seeing old friends and making time to do things on my own bring parts of me to the forefront.
I have felt blessed and grateful at the start of this new year to have the support and love that fills our lives and subsequently, yours. You are literally surrounded by loving family that constantly play and provide. I believe it both accelerates your learning and enhances all the lessons life is teaching you.

Legos entered the picture as of Christmas and you are mad for them, just like all your uncles were. I know you prefer eating them over any thing else, but you watch as your uncles and daddy piece them together (sometimes I think for their own pleasure, not necessarily your entertainment).

Cheerios entered the realm too. Oh my Lord, you love them Cheerios. I had no idea how awesome self-feeding would be, I can give you a handful of the little O’s and you are silent for a few minutes. Silent, I never thought that to be a possibility. I love watching you discover them over and over, in the fold of your hands, your pants and the blankie on the floor. We joke that you are stashing them to eat later. Even found a few in the diapers. Those you did not get to eat. There is a limit to what Mama is willing to expose you to.

And speaking of exposing, you prefer to be in that state... “Thank you very much,
Mama, I do not think I need that diaper“. Ach, clothing and changes suck right now, and I know probably will for a long time. It has made me highly efficient in my changing skills, I could win a contest at this point, and believe me, I know I would have stiff competition. It is just that I have two, so I have learned to be that much quicker to end the torture that occurs when getting poop wiped off your bottom. I love it when your nikked butts crawl around, but it is winter, so I am trying to keep some clothing on you.

All in all, you both proving to be totally boy, totally cute and totally amazing in all that you do. I never would have thought it would be like this, so much fun and so much work. I know our worlds are both opening and I can see such fun ahead. I want you to know that I see you, Owen and Mason. I see your Self emerging and I want to acknowledge and thank you for teaching me so very much.

Mason and Owen, I love you. Your Mama loves you so very much.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Linked Up

Sorry, I neglected to link to the pattern for the footsie washcloth. Now you can all go out and make a stack. I used the ubiquitously handy and cheap Sugar n' Cream yarn made so famous by Mason Dixon. Love the colors, the durability and the price.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Recap and Rekindle

I wanted to address our first Christmas with the Beans but did not have the chance due to the craziness of the holiday season. We were running from the beginning of December until just after new year’s. Now that things have calmed, and though it may seem a bit dated as we all know the season is over, I have to do a little recap of the lovely time we had this Christmas.

I have written about my wonderful family before, we number eight siblings sans spouses. This year we almost all made it (my older brother and his wife could not make it down) and it serves for a full house on the day of Christmas. We agreed to fore go gifts this year due to financial/material/etc. reasons, but this only means we tend to go towards the handmade. It turned out to be a special and tender day with many gifts that all held special meaning to each giver and receiver. The babies had their share of special things, handmade blocks and handmade hats, but my favorite, the fave of all present actually, were the boots my brother and his fiance brought back from their travels in Mongolia.
They count as man made and contributed to the economy of a lovely country (per the travelers). They do not fit the babies yet, we are hoping they will be just right next year. And then they will be placed in shadow boxes on display because have you ever seen anything as frickin’ adorable as those boots? Well, of course, my babies, so just imagine the combination. Killer.

My hand knits were popular, the felted bag was exclaimed over, the So-Called scarf wrapped around a lovely neck, both Foliage hats worn, and I neglected to photo any of it. We were a little busy trying to keep Owen from eating every piece of wrapping paper he could find. I did get a shot of the handwarmers from Weekend Knitting in action.
My brothers really loved them and I am flattered that some of the most stylish teens I have ever met willingly wear my knits.

I must photo the aprons my sister made each one of the females in the family. They are frilly lovely confections, almost more like party dresses, all this moot without photographic evidence.
She was the creator of the beans little animal fleece hates. I told her I want one, maybe a kitty or something. Or a monkey, love my monkeys, I do.

So, it was fun and though it is over, the season resonates with me as a time of shared family and love. We just finished the second huge pan of vegetarian lasagna my sister cooked from scratch on Christmas Day. The Beans gobbled portions at dinner last night and I had to call her and tell her. She was thrilled and I know I have smart babies as they already understand that their Tanta Mem is an amazing cook.

A wonderful thing developed for me over the season, my love of knitting came to the forefront and I was invigorated and inspired to try new things, pick up the needles and knit. I have decided I am an accessory knitter for now.
The tiny things just fit into my life, give me the process and the product I need. I love knitting garments but I do not wear them, and I have not the time or commitment right now. Thankfully, there are babies galore multiplying in our lives starting with my sister and brother-in-law. I found the pattern for the warshcloth through a friend and knit one in record time.
Then knit another and I have plans for many more. I have found stacks of washcloths to be invaluable for a newborn, heck, even for my eight month olds. So I plan on making stacks.
Then there is my Endpaper (note the singular, number two has been cast on). I love this pattern and recommend using these cast on and cast off tutorials if you decide to Endpaper yourself. (If you would have told me a month ago that I would be able to follow these tutorials I would have laughed as brain dripped out of my earhole...from lack of sleep, you know?)And the pretty white yarn is for a special baby girl and will reveal itself in all is glory when complete.

I am loving the texture and variety small projects allow. And I even found time to ‘design’ a beanie, the one pictured with my boys was something I thought about and actually executed quite quickly except for the crown which required some ripping and re-knitting until I was satisfied.

It is nice to have rekindled my love of yarn and needles. Now enough with the posting, I gotta’ go knit.

Who says Southern California doesn't get weather? These are the foothills behind our house. I love the day after the storm.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Welcome 2008!

It has become a tradition to spend our New Year at the family cabin. The Cabin holds such significance in our lives, it was the place of our engagement and wedding and the first place we traveled with the Beans. Back in July when they were three months old we were excited and worried about the venture we were undertaking. It was a smashing trip and as the New Year drew closer we discussed taking them again for the annual winter trip.

Well, we decided it was a go and it proved to be a very wonderful thing for our family. The snow coverage was just right for beauty but not inconvenience. The temperatures were cold, but we had the right gear. And the boys, well, they are just always the best. Now that they are mobile and so much more active, we set up Baby Central, gated off the woodstove and brought a ridiculous amount of toy entertainment. Of course, they preferred the VCR from 1982 and the various new wooden surfaces of the coffee tables dotting the area. They also really liked the barstools, likely because the seats were at the perfect height to knock them out as they pulled to standing.

Tim was lucky to have the time between holidays off and it was the first time we were together as a family since our July trip. It is rare that Tim and I are ever really alone with the boys due to our unique living situation, and though being away means there are no extra hands to take one or give us a break, it really means so much to me to be with my boys, able to focus on them and experience family in this way. Just today, right before I sat to wrote this I was in the nap room with the three of them, unable to sleep, so I just watched the three most important guys in my life in repose.

There were no snowboarding adventures or nights spent with the locals in one of the many bars that pepper the small town (what else are you gonna’ do on snowy night after snowy night?). But you know what? That is just fine. We adults got in a few games of Boggle, a game we dug out of the closet with instructions intact….though the paper is yellowing. We had a Guinness or two, barbequed our traditional lamb, took a few snowshoe hikes and just hung out. I spent more time in the kitchen than I have in ages, making No Knead Bread (sweet lord, that is a great recipe) and baby food.

All in all, it was the perfect way to welcome 2008. 2007 has been a pivotal time in our lives, bringing our boys into our world, altering our world. I will always reflect on the year past with amazement and a sigh of relief as we made it through the first part of parenting. Yes, I know there is so much more to come. That is why 2008 looks so bright. I know there will be so many things to experience as we continue on the path of family and parenthood.

I have enjoyed reading about everyone else's holiday season and want to wish you all a wonderful 2008. Happy New Year!

Little side note: Talk about good timing. We are home now and the Sierras are expecting 3-4 feet of snow starting tonight. Whew!