Bea’s day

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Sweet Bea turned 4 this week.  I wanted to make her favorite meal for supper, but thinking about it I realized that I don’t even know what her favorite meal might be.  She doesn’t ever want anything except dessert.  She hardly ever eats at mealtimes.  The only meal she ever requests is macaroni and cheese.  So that’s what we made for her.  But she was so preoccupied by the prospect of cake that she only ate a few bites of it.

Bea is the epitome of middle child.  I think she was even before she actually became the middle child.  She is amazing in so many ways and I love her to bits, but she can also be contrary and defiant and often we focus on trying to correct these things rather than praising the good in her.  Every morning I wake up and think, today I am going to be patient with her, today I will only show her love, today I will shower her with a little extra attention.  And I always fail.  I’m not sure why I thought it would be any different on her birthday.  I wanted to make this day really special and all about her.  Of course, then in her characteristic Bea way she made carrying out that plan very difficult.  She kept walking around declaring, “It’s my birthday, I can do whatever I want!” and proceeding to quite literally do whatever she wanted — to the frustration of her parents.  This was compounded by a needy baby who apparently didn’t know that he was supposed to let his sister have some of mom and dad’s attention on her special day.

But she did enjoy her presents — particularly the make-up kit she got from her grandma and a My Little Pony comic book.  And Jake made his signature mint chocolate cake.  We had a little party with the neighbors, and I know she enjoyed playing pin the tail on the pony with her friends.  (It was such a hot and humid evening, when I got out my camera to take a picture of her blowing out candles the lens fogged up and I only got one hazy picture.)  I think (I hope) in her mind it was a really great day, and that she didn’t sense my own sense of failure.  She’s one amazingly awesome girl, and I’m proud to be her mama.

Will in wool

Here is Will at two weeks old in his oh-so-tiny pants.  At nearly 5 weeks, he’s already so much bigger than in these photos.DSC_0008 DSC_0009 DSC_0011 DSC_0013 DSC_0014

And this is the vest I knit for Bea — she wore it when she was four months old.  Then I lent it to my sister for her babes, and it came back as a newborn vest — thought I sent along washing instructions but you know, sometimes things get tossed in the dryer accidentally.  It’s still darn cute. DSC_0016 DSC_0017 DSC_0019Bea adores dressing up her new doll brother.

green! but only inside

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We’ve been experiencing a typical spring — days of sunshine and mud and hope alternating with days of cold and snow boredom.  We’ve spotted a few slips of green outdoors — most notably our chives and some dandelions sprouting.  But we also decided to bring some green indoors.  We are conducting a twig study, with lilac, plum, and basswood branches clipped from our yard.  And we made a terrarium.  Just enough green and growing to get us through to the warmer side of spring.
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playing and learning, part 2

How we kept busy indoors this winter:DSC_0104

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DSC_0112Adeline got really into making her own comics (templates here and here).  She’s still using the techniques she learned from Ed Emberley’s thumbprint books.

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DSC_0117This accordion turned out to be a very worthwhile Christmas gift.

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DSC_0130Sometimes an impromptu photo shoot is a good way to pass the time.

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DSC_0136Ed Emberley again — this time we were inspired by The Wing on a Flea to make pictures out of simple shapes (we printed some from here to cut out.)

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I am in love with Mr. Printables.  We’ve spent many hours printing, cutting, gluing, and playing with the wonderful creations there (including the dolls above and the calendar below).  Cutting out and pasting all the elements onto her own calendar really helped Adeline understand how calendars are organized — but it was quite a lot of work, and February might be the only one we make this year!

Made by Joel is another site for great printables and inspiration.

We’ve been studying a bit of Shakespeare with the help of this great book, watching this animated version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The Adventures in Learning blog has some really fun ideas.

We “joined” the Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers club.

We’re loving the Willowbee Tree stories from Sparkle Stories.

playing and learning, part 1

Spring is nearly here and I feel as though we’ve been sprung from a cage.  But in many ways our time indoors this winter has been full and pleasant, so I’d like to take a minute to record what we’ve been doing.  I’m sure by next winter I’ll have forgotten most of these ideas and the links to them if I don’t write them down now, and perhaps you might find a little inspiration, too.

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DSC_0042Adeline and I have been slowly working through Drawing with Children (an amazing book I learned of here), and during our last lesson Bea was more eager to join in than before.  We collaborated on the above drawings (I drew the palm tree and the baby birds) and I must say it was wonderful to work with a child who is not as much of a . . . perfectionist as my other child is.
DSC_0045We’ve been studying Mary Cassatt and we made these parent and child drawings (Adeline’s is on the left, Bea’s are the two on the right).

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DSC_0070We read a really sweet book about a girl who makes a butternut squash into her doll, at which point Beatrice decided to adopt the squash that had spent most of the winter on our kitchen counter as her own “Bernice.”  She’s been with us for many weeks now, only slightly more soft and dented than she started out.


I was inspired by this post to get the girls involved in planning for this summer’s garden, and I was very surprised by their enthusiasm for the project.  We spent well over an hour one night poring through seed catalogs and drawing up plans, only stopping reluctantly for bedtime.

now I’m knitting

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I haven’t unpacked my sewing machine since we moved — and did I mention we’re approaching one year in this house?!  For several reasons, it has been easier of late to pick up the knitting needles rather than try to tackle the half-unpacked boxes in my sewing space.  So.  Here are a couple finished projects: first, an Irish hiking scarf for Adeline made with Brown Sheep Serendipity Tweed.  I’ve used this yarn for several projects, as it always seems to be on sale at our local yarn shop.  And I finally realized during this project that I just don’t love it.  It is a cotton/wool blend and I don’t like the way it drapes.  And knitting with yarn you don’t love is just laborious.  So I’ve given myself permission not to use this (or any) yarn I don’t love in the future — and I’ll be more careful when picking out yarn from the bargain room.

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Next up: tiny pants in KnitCol for the yet-to-be-born one.  These were so fun and quick to make!  I promise you that the legs aren’t really lopsided, it’s just the angle of the photo.  I’ll get a better picture when he is wearing them.

I figured since the needles were flying I would try to squeeze in a few more projects before spring (and baby and garden) brings my knitting season to an end.  I may have been overly ambitious in my planning.

DSC_0017 Some of them may languish half-finished over the summer, but for now I’m enjoying working on a boneyard shawl, a puerperium cardigan, and a little something for Bea.

 

feathering the nest

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In a little over two months we will be celebrating our 1st anniversary in this house.  And I feel like we are still unpacking and moving in.  In the past couple months we finally hung some stuff on the walls, put up shelves, did some little projects we’ve been intending to do since we moved in last May.  We now have enough space for our books.  The girls have a gallery for their art.  We even made a heart mobile for Valentine’s day (that may just stay up all year round).  It’s good to feel a little more settled — and organized!