Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Back with Bits

First, thank you for all the birthday wishes. The boys love all the attention and say thanks. They had a mellow birthday weekend. One thing we wanted to experience was the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific. And we did. On a Saturday. In 90 degree weather.


Maybe not the best laid plan, but it was fun. The aquarium resembled Disneyland with a bazillion strollers (yep, we were also perpetrators)(with a double, mind you). It was hectic but also fascinating.

The space is not too big, easily accessed and will be loads of fun when the boys are a bit older and we go on a Tuesday. My brother is credited with the photos as we had yet another lens malfunction and relied on our little point and shoot for a few snapshots. (Please send replacement vibes, it is in the shop and we are hoping for a new one as this one seems to be cursed).
with daddy

Somehow the one year mark has held immense significance for me, it seems like things that have been slightly out of alignment have shifted back in place and I have felt whole in many ways. My belief in my skills as a Mama, my confidence in my choices and actions are all feeling good, and though I know that can change in a heartbeat in this strange and lovely land of Parenthood, I feel like I should just enjoy it for now.

I have been setting little and big goals for this year. I have a feeling time will be marked by the day of their arrival for awhile....New Year's can step aside for resolution time. So, I have decided on a few actions. I am returning to yoga, keeping better track of my health via a few new means (for now I am keeping my new blog private as I only need to be accountable to me), and taking better responsibility for house work, cooking etc. I finally feel like I have the energy to take on these actions.

And in crafting news, I have been playing with the new sewing machine a bit. I love the box bag I spotted on other sites and tried my hand at one.
box bag, take 1

It was fairly simple using this tutorial with a few modifications found here.
It is also a wonderful use of some of the precious fat quarters I have been stashing for awhile. I like how the simple construction highlights fabric choice.
peek inside

And I am falling in love with the color teal, as evidenced by zipper and yarn choice. The yarn is from an etsy shop, The colorway something like "He saw her across the smoky bar".
sewn for my knits

I was sold on the name alone, but the yarn itself is lovely and knitting up easily into Veronik's Lace Ribbon Scarf. So I have knit some things for my sewing and now I am sewing some things for my knitting. A vicious cycle, the craft world.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Thirtieth Day :: Happy Birthday Boys!!!

So tired. So here are more than one photo to show Day 30, their day, the day our twins came into our world, our life, our hearts and brought their unique form of joy and zest for life.

Birth day One

In honor of my first post about the boys...

Diapers changed : 4000

Bottles made : 3500

Laundry loads done : 500

Sleepless nights : Uncounted

Getting hugs and kisses, cuddles from sticky faces, baby vomit on every part of our lives, watching people become, receiving unconditional love, thriving not just surviving their first year : Priceless.

Thank you babies for being you. Thank you family for being part of this. Thank you blogging friends for every comment left, every time you read, every bit of support.

We look forward to the next year, all of us.

I think I will take a little break from this as it has been a challenge to post for 30 days in a row. But I will be back, hopefully with more to share in more ways than one.

Oh, and the lens malfunctioned (again). So, ugh. Back to Canon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-nine

30 Days :: Twenty-nine

I have entitled this picture "I got your back". Here's the "No, I got your back". Because as brothers and twins I am anticipating this will come to be. I stitched up these cuties and put them up high, they have sat in wait for their two little boys to come along and give them love. Now tomorrow is the day they get to meet their boys. I think they are very excited.

Here is how I see the initial meet up going ;
Mason : Squeal. (Spaceboy in mouth). (Fingers on French knots). (Run to get Owen's).
Owen : Baa Baa Baa. (This is his new incessant sound). (Ignores Spaceboy). Mom (yep, he calls me Mom, not always but when he gets mad). (Runs after Mace to get his Sapceboy).

But I just know someday they will love on them good.

The joy I found in creating with my boys in mind was so immense. These little Spaceboys are what started my new love of all things sewn. I love them. Not as much as I love them, but I do love them.

Wee Wonderfuls
is the place to get your pattern if you have a special little person wishing for a companion to take with them on their journeys afar.

Not even sure what to do about tomorrow's picture.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-eight

30 Days :: Twenty-eight

This is Tim in baby jail. Put there to give him time to decipher the cryptic instructions included with all items purchased at Ikea. Not helping was his head cold from which he should have been recuperating. Instead, on his sick day I place my husband in baby jail while I attempt to rearrange the whole baby area. It was a bit chaotic, but he did it. You know why? Because he is the superman of all Daddies.

He is my hero. Every moment of every day, through this walk of parenting, through the lovelies and the breakdowns and the sleeplessness and the juggling and the cuddles and the explosive 2 a.m. poop that almost hit the wall (remember that one, honey?). So, this day is my tribute to the one that walks everyday with me, not just the 30. Love you, MCD.

Monday, April 21, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-seven

the eyes have it

Sleep has been elusive for this little guy. He teethes so hard, gets so uncomfortable, easily worked up, hard to go down. Unlike his brother who can fall asleep anywhere but just cannot stay that way. I have mentioned before that if you combined my two children they would make perfect sleepers (or horrible ones, hmmm, never thought of it that way). I can see the offender, residing next to the bottom two, bruised and swollen and unwilling to give his owner a break. Anyway, he loves his morning nap and I often have to wake him up. He spends a few minutes rolling around, cuddling his blankie, stretching luxuriously and letting the sleep fall off of him until he is ready to get out.

Not O, he wakes and is full on, ready to get out NOW, and if you do not comply he starts the "I can climb the crib corner" thing that scares the s*it out of me because he is way too young to be pulling those shenanigans. Again, such individuals, such contrasts and highlights and shadows. Always together and always so different.

I have intentions to do a post on what the (almost) 30 days have taught me but I have to write one of those lessons now. Taking photos everyday is a challenge, almost like homework for this fairly undisciplined Mama. But due to this project I have a new and precious knowledge....if you look for beauty, you will find it. Everywhere. Everyday.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-six

smiling at my love

Day trip to the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

We spent the day wandering after the boys. We also had some time at the beach...wandering after the boys. They loved their sand play and only consumed a few handfuls. We know where we will be in the upcoming months. They were so tired they fell asleep before we could get them in their cribs. I wish every day could be like today.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-five

6. Enjoy fruits of labor

Today we took a trip to our local Ikea (and it really is local, an easy 12 minute drive by freeway) in search of a few items. The first important item was a swing gate, the second a tent. Owen woke from his nap early and helped Daddy put it all together. Click to see his tent building skills. Once Mace woke up pandemonium ensued with much hilarity and joy. You must see this shot because we laugh every time we look at it and I think you will too. Have a great Sunday. Here's hoping our tomorrow is as fun as today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-four

30 Days :: Twenty-three

I heart amiguri. I also love our new friend Theo the Myopic Top-heavy Turtle. Found this free pattern the other day and had to try it out. Quite pleased though my attaching of limbs may require a bit more finesse.

Theo met the boys who were each a little hard on him in their own ways. Mason used him as a drool catcher, but seemed to enjoy his company. Owen squeezed him very tightly then discarded him. Ah, Theo, let's hope you make it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-three

30 Days :: Twenty-two

Little boys in knits make me feel happy. Though these are not totally complete, (missing a few spots and a pair of ears) I am happy to check one of the more ambitious birthday presents off the list. These will likely be worn in the autumn as they are roomy and the temperature around here keeps hitting the high 80s (perfectly ironic finished object weather). Maybe by then they will stop trying to tear them off the minute I put the sweaters on. Autonomy is not always a good thing for a mama knitter.

Here is your Owie link for the day (keeping it even, you know).

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty-two


Hours spent building, knocking down, fitting into and throwing. New discoveries every day, every hour, it seems. Connections made, strengthened, practiced. Endless energy until they fall into a hard deep sleep. Until the morning. Amazing to witness. I feel so privileged.

Monday, April 14, 2008

30 Days :: Twenty

30 days :: Twenty

There are a few things I know.

I know I am an old soul. I know I was sent back this time to learn a lesson in humility. I am in the midst of that lesson now.

I know my husband is an older soul than I. I know he chose to come back to walk with me through my lesson.

I know my sons are the lesson. And for my husband they are his gift for returning.
Funny, how that works.

Prompted by the reading of Eat Pray Love and the story of the Indonesian man reading her palm.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

30 Days :: Nineteen

30 Days :: Nineteen

Yesterday my niece came to be....and she is absolutely perfect in every way. My lovely sister is now the mama of a healthy baby girl. She came almost two weeks late and weighed in at sister was so patient and assured that everything was fine, she and I had a conversation this week about just knowing when our babies would be ready to be here.

MY little sister is a MAMA! SO crazy.

Friday I started this little flannel quilt blankie for K. I just felt compelled and picked all the little pink squares out of the charm packs I had just received in the morning mail, arranged them and started hand piecing the quilt top. I finished it today but was mostly done with it by the time K arrived yesterday at 2 p.m. I embroidered her initial in it with french knots indicating the date of her birth (thanks for the idea, Jennifer). Now just some machine quilting and binding and it will be ready with a little love note attached telling K how much her aunt loves her already.

The knit is going to be a felted bag to carry my latest sewing bits. Hilarious, I am knitting to support the sewing now. I had to get it in the picture because I love that this lens (yes, it is back) can actually get the brilliance of the red. And I love that red. I have had the yarn in my stash since Australia, bought it in a little shop in Melbourne while trying to teach myself knitting. The attempt was disastrous, but I kept the yarn. Now it is going towards the perfect project for it. I love that I can look at my yarn stash and it tells me a story of where we have been in the last 5 or so years. My husband collects T-shirts, I collect yarn bits.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

30 Days :: Eighteen

Soggy bottom blues

I got the soggy bottom blues.
If you got them you can choose
To wear no diapers but only shoes.
With the soggy bottom blues.

If you want to see what we do when the temp hits 90, click through to the Flickr shots.

Friday, April 11, 2008

30 Days :: Seventeen

This is what I look like most Fridays around 3 p.m. My mother works for a TCM Doctor and I have been seeing him for years now. Initially he treated me when I would have episodes of back pain, sometimes for anxiety, other times just to balance my qi. He is a wonderfully skilled practitioner. I started seeing him when the boys were about 7 months old for PPD. It was a gut feeling I had, I did not go and get the diagnosis from my doctor as what would have followed would be a prescription for Zoloft (or something) (which I am not knocking, having used it once and found it the right thing for me at the time). So, I saw him twice a week at first, then once a week and now every other week. It is hard to describe, the feeling of 40 or so needles going into the gut (sorry for the postpartum belly, never had a six pack, but must work on that a bit). It is also hard to describe the feeling after....I feel balanced and energized and whole. I am grateful for this man and his ability to help me establish balance in this new life of mine.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

30 Days :: Fifteen

Sometimes I see Mason and I think of the coral reef I saw in Oz: translucent and glowing. He seems both ancient and lamb soft. As he drifts into semi-consciousness, the curve of his cheek softens and I feel undone.
Sleeping Macie

And then there is Owen, gazing at him, he seems almost careworn. He strikes me as an old fisherman come in from salty seas for respite. He turns his face to me for comfort, sharp nails dig into me and he is then a baby, sweetly needing.
Sleeping O

These odd thoughts drift through my mind as the four of us lay on pillows, performing our nightly bedtime ritual. Exhausted and aching, yet fascinated by their faces, their presence, by them.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

30 Days :: Fourteen

30 Days :: Fourteen

I played around a bit with the photos since I am back to using our p&S. Picasa has a few fun tricks that mix things up. The boys used their new quilt today as it was a bit chilly during our evening walk. They are funny little chaps, initially they ran their fingers on the outlines of the monkeys, then they just wanted to throw it (and everything else) out of the stroller. Ah, the appreciation shown by our little ones for all of our hard hand efforts.

I am on a monkey binge right now. I found this fabric a long time ago when shopping at Michael Levine's with my sisters, now I know it is Moda and can be found all over the internet. So, I found some and clicked happily away today. There was a sale over at Fat Quarter and the flannel charm packs called to me. Lately, Macie has been really into snuggling items and I think a flannel blankie might be in order for each of the boys. And it gives me a bit more sewing to put on the list.

The nice thing is my boys seem to be as obsessed as I am over monkeys. Back in March when we went on our trip sans Daddy, we were over at my sister's in her soon to be daughter's room. There was a very familair stuffed monkey on the crib which Macie spotted immediately. We call ours Mr. BoJangles here at home. Well, he literally freaked out over it, was squealing like a pig and rolling around with it and would not let it go. It made my heart warm to see his attachment as it is the favorite toy of his Daddy's too. Just a barrel of monkeys, that is what we are.

Um, a little confession. Initially I hand quilted around the monkeys and then just stitched in the ditch between the squares with the machine. But then I wanted more quilting so now I am quilting around all the little peroxide bottles, one by one. Because I am crazy. But I like it. And I figure I will get them done when they are done.

Monday, April 07, 2008

30 Days :: Thirteen

30 Days :: Thirteen

There are pictures of the babies over at Flickr because part of the 30 Days was to document this month before they turn ONE(!) but today I chose this picture because it tasted so durn good. I was going to make this cake yesterday, but as things go, by afternoon I was wiped. Well, last night I actually had a good night of sleep (ahhh, 6 hours. Amen.) and it gave me the uumph to bake today.

I fell in love with this cake recipe, found via Jennifer at JC Handmade. It tastes good plain, but even better with a swirl of ganache with a bit of berry on top. It garnered top reviews from the family and the babies (who ate their sans choc-choc as they have yet to acquire the taste). It reminded me that I do love the kitchen, though it has been a challenge to get in and out of it in the past year (and a half, if you count the pregnancy). And it just made me feel good. Mmmmmmmm, cake.

The boys also ingested a bit of bark and dirt as they have taken to outdoor exploration and still linger in the phase of everything in mouth first. How long does that last, eh?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

30 Days :: Twelve

unfocused cuteness

Here is the thing, with this camera my son is not in focus but the messy background is. Arggg. But, oh, how I love this shot. He seems so delicate, elf like almost and it reminds me of his early days when he seemed otherworldly.

I remember it was about one year ago to the day that I was struggling to finish this knit, working on deciphering the cryptic instructions that Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns can be, then setting it aside to wait for my babies to be born. Th neckline is unfinished, very 80s, the sleeves are waaaaay too long (I seem to be under the impression that small children have monkey-like arm proportions) and I was convinced it would not fit them forever. I tried it on a whim today, I love it. I want to make another stat. Just in time for the 100 degree temperatures to set in. Perfect.

Knitting has been a bit absent of late; productivity is on the wane due to fatigue, imbalance, some deeply seated wiggles in me...and I read a great post that reminded me gently that balance does not always entail getting as much crafting as humanly possible into my days, but rather finding the healthy approach to it all. I love creating, I love exploring all the nuances of my knitting, but I have to remember the other daily tasks of sweeping and cooking and walking with the boys in the stroller all have as much merit and satisfaction.

So, onward to a week that I hope will be filled with lovely moments that can be captured....SLR or not. (sigh)

A little note : I almost feel guilty for posting two pictures of Mason in a row (ah, the life of a twin Mama, guilt inherit in all actions that involve them) but click here for the Owen shot of the day. I call it Baby Bobble Head.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

30 Days :: Eleven

30 Days :: Eleven

I have a dilemma. Today was a rough day in many ways. Strawberry picking just did not pan out well, the MOM club was leaving as we arrived, the pairs there were over 2 years and the weather was overcast and gloomy. Then the kicker; when trying to salvage the outing with a photo or two we discovered the lens is on the ability to focus at all. Crushing. Especially as I have been really into the camera since starting the 30 days.

So now I have to make a choice, use the old P&S or abandon all hope. I know, it is not that big of a deal, but in some ways it is. So hard to go back to the limitations of our other digital, so disappointing when I was finding my groove in this. I will send the lens off Monday (again) and hope for it to return before the actual birthday of the boys....and try to capture what I can with what we have got.

Cheated a bit and posted a picture that I took a few days ago, but could have taken if our camera was working. I walk by this home (can you call it a home?) on our daily walks. It fascinates me, like a piece of Old Hollywood transported to our suburban town. Perched behind gates, gleaming in the sun in the late raises the question in me...What would you do?

Right now what I am going to do is grab a glass of wine and pray for a better day (and night). Until Sunday, my friends.

Friday, April 04, 2008

30 Days :: Ten

30 Days :: Ten

It was a toss up today between posting the Baby or the Bib. I had a chance to sew up a really quick bib and loved the outcome. But then we pulled out the bubbles for a bit of pre-dinner fun and I had to use this because he fell prostrate to the floor in glee just after the click of the shutter. Mason loves bubbles. Owen likes them, but really just wants to make them himself. Mason will stretch and run to them, attempt to catch them and watch as they burst lightly when they touch the ground.

We should never forget the joy that these delicate orbs can deliver. Whether you have a child or not, I suggest you find a bottle of your own and create a bit of magic in your day. If you have a moment click through to the rest of the FLickr photos, and you can watch the babies discovering their magic in the evening light.

Have a great weekend. Tomorrow holds strawberry picking, and most likely some very interesting photo opportunities.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

30 Days :: Nine

30 Days :: Nine

You didn't think I could stay away from the craft posts for long, did you? I have immersed myself in sewing today during the spare moments. I am in love with sewing and have tackled binding, zippers into knitting and some knitted appliques. Initially I dreaded all three.

It was at least a year ago that I began the little quilt in the picture above, the piecing was simple enough, but then I decided to hand quilt the little sock monkey outlines. Then I found you really cannot hand quilt in a reclined position (during my bed rest phase, of course). Then I discovered you really cannot hand quilt with newborn then growing twins. But now, ahhhh, one side of binding left to go and into the wash with it. I read this binding tutorial over and over and imagined the process, because, yes, I am weird and fantasize about binding even though I had never tried it before. I really love binding things and now I am speculating on all things that can be bound.

On the knitting front, well, the zipper was simple. The yarn is very forgiving, hiding all of my sloppy stitching and both zippers appear to be sitting well in the knitted fabric. And I loved the 'spot' application process because, again, forgiving yarn and a nice change from using the sticks. My technique was simple; knit the spots, place strategically and sew into place. I promise full pictures and model shots later down the line.

All in all, good way to spend an overcast and cool day. Hope yours was just as fun.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

30 Days :: Eight

30 Days :: Eight

We are lucky to be involved in a great playgroup. The group meets once a week at a spectacular location, the Claremont Packing House. This recently renovated building holds great treasures; a children's clothing store with whimsical and punk rock apparel, a pretty good yarn store, artist residence lofts and the Claremont Forum. The space is open, used as a gallery and a meeting place. We gather, moms of all ages and babies of all sizes, talk and sing and play with each other. The really cool thing is there is usually some type of installation up and the kids wander about, most too young to take in the pieces, but getting exposure to art all the same. Kinda' cool, huh? And it makes me feel a little fresher when we get there. I mean, I may not be knocking back martinis at the Hip Kitty, but my kids are playing in an art gallery. Sweet.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

30 Days :: Seven


Lying on the floor in their room, the boys clamber raucously around me, exhausted, my back aching...I look up and see the dust motes and think, "How lovely," then "I really need to clean those curtains". Seized by sudden energy, I pull them down, take the screen out of the window, hop out onto the patio and shake them out furiously. Back into the room, boys looking on, up go the curtains, refreshed and ready to block the light out on their next nap. Feeling quite satisfied. It was the highlight of my day.