making life

attempts at homemade


March 2011

just Bea-cause

Be warned: gratuitous cuteness ahead.  This one’s for the grandparents, folks.

she’s got style

right now

So many things I’m wishing and hoping and looking forward to today … Jake’s summer break, 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep, a summer full of vegetables delivered to my door … but most of all there is that constant, constant yearning for warmer weather, for Spring to start for real.

But right now we have snow again.  So, I am taking a deep breath and trying to appreciate one last, very last (*fingers crossed*) time the beauty of snow, the way this clumpy wet snow sticks to trees and rooftops like frosting, the wonder of waking up to a world transformed by a nighttime snowfall.
Ok, that’s enough appreciation.  Let’s get on with Spring already.


All too often I find myself inhabiting the lands of Someday and Might-Have-Been.  Right Now is an exercise I try to practice here every Tuesday, an attempt to let go of anything that is holding me back from paying attention to the truly wonderful life I’m living right now.  Feel free to join in with a comment or a link to your own post!

{this moment}

From Soulemama{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.

no mom is an island

This started out as a simple show-and-tell post about this wooden Noah’s ark that Adeline got as a Christmas gift from our wonderful neighbors.  And as I was writing it in my head, I couldn’t stop it from morphing into this completely other post about how huge this parenting gig is, and how impossible it is to do it single-handedly.  If you’ll bear with me, I’ll connect the dots for you …

The neighbors who made this Noah’s ark were two of the first people we met when we moved here.  He is a woodworker; she is a quilter.  They are retired and have sort of adopted Adeline as one of their surrogate grandchildren.  They invite her over for tea parties and popsicles.  They adore her and she loves them dearly.  They’ve helped us out when we had no one else to watch Adeline.  I should mention that, like many of you probably, we don’t live anywhere near our families.  And I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but it is a hard job raising children, even harder if you don’t have a support network of family and friends in place to help out once in a while.

This is something that Jake and I lament a lot: that we don’t have our family, our God-given built-in support system, nearby.  We do recognize we have no one to blame for this but ourselves.  We chose to leave home and go to college, and all the subsequent decisions we’ve made haven’t got us any closer to moving back.  However, we like to place a little bit of blame for this on our society, in which it is just expected that children will grow up and leave their parents and “make it on their own.”  Neither of us questioned this assumption until it was too late — “too late” being the point where we had our first colicky baby and were living hundreds of miles from our parents and anyone else that we knew.

Anyway, as I know from experience, it is all too easy to just sit around talking about a lack of community or support; it is another thing altogether to go out into your community and meet people, make friends, join things.  It takes time to form relationships and make connections, so if you’ve moved around as much as we have you can begin to feel a little reluctant to start all over again for the seventh time.  You might get into a little funk of self-pity: “Oh, I have no one around to help me out.  Poor me.”  (Um, yeah, when I say “you” I mean “that’s what I did.”)  But finally I came to the (only and most obvious) conclusion: I had to get out of the house and meet people if I was ever going to make friends.  I’m no expert on this subject, but I can tell you that this is the way it begins: go for a walk in your neighborhood.  Perhaps you will see other people outside.  Perhaps if you say “hi” they will talk to you.  Take your kids to storytime at the library.  Say “Yes!” if a complete stranger approaches you and asks if you’d be interested in joining a prenatal yoga class with her.  You just might find yourself, one year later, sipping coffee with her while your babies roll around on the floor together and your preschoolers draw all over each other with face paints.

So anyway, I guess I’m trying to say: if you don’t already, get to know your neighbors; seek out a community you feel comfortable in.  And remember to ask for help when you need it.  Helping others in need is one important part of belonging to a community.  But it is just as important to ask for help when you need it.  Especially as a parent.  We Americans can get swept up in the ideal of individualism, and we need to try to shake that and learn that it can be good to depend on others once in a while.  Just because you can do everything for yourself doesn’t mean that you need to or even that you should.  As a crafter, I fall into that mentality a lot: I could make that, so why should I pay someone else to make it for me?  But I’m finding that sometimes I just don’t have time to make that handmade thingamabob before the birthday party (here’s where Etsy comes in handy).   Or I just don’t have the space right now to grow and store all my own vegetables, so I buy them from someone who does.  And I think that’s ok.  That’s part of being a community.  One person doesn’t need to be completely self-sufficient if they’re part of a community.  After all, no mom’s an island.

right now

Beatrice is teething.  And not sleeping.  Therefore, I am not sleeping.  Adeline won’t stop asking, “Why?  Why this?  Why that?  Why why why???”  The time change is still messing with our rhythms and schedules.

But right now, it is Spring!  And we are outside!  And that makes all the difference.


Right Now is an exercise I [try to] practice here every Tuesday, an attempt to acknowledge and let go of any fear, anxiety, impatience, or want that is holding me back from paying attention to the truly wonderful life I’m living right now.  Feel free to join in with a comment or a link to your own right now post!

out for a stroll

right now

Some days I worry that my bond with my second daughter is not as strong as that with my first.  I look at this baby and think, I don’t know you the way I know your sister.  I worry that this sweet, content child gets less attention than her more-demanding older sister.  I fear that some days she gets a bit lost in the shuffle and busy-ness of our lives.But right now, while Adeline is visiting some neighbors, little Bea has me all to herself for a while.  I try to make the most of moments like this.  And I look at her and think how loved she is, of the amazing connection between her and her sister, and my worries melt away, and I know that she’s going to grow up just fine.


Right Now is an exercise I [try to] practice here every Tuesday, an attempt to acknowledge and let go of any fear, anxiety, impatience, or longing that is holding me back from paying attention to the truly wonderful life I’m living right now.  Feel free to join in with a comment or a link to your own right now post!

changing mat with pocket

My mom sewed my sister and me matching diaper bags a while back (which probably gave her flashbacks to our childhood when she had to sew two of everything for us: two Easter dresses, two prairie girl dresses, two Cabbage Patch dolls, etc.).   Anyway, I wanted to make some accessories for my Sis out of the leftover fabric; specifically, I had planned to make a changing mat and a diaper pouch.  However, when I was perusing sewing blogs one day, I came across two tutorials for a combination changing mat/diaper & wipes holder.  Genius!  So instead of sewing two things, I only had to sew one, which was serendipitous because I only had a couple hours of sewing time anyway.

I didn’t end up actually using either of those tutorials, just kind of blended together things I liked about each of them.

The pocket can fit 2-4 diapers (depending on size), a travel case of wipes, and some diaper rash cream (or hand sanitizer, or whatever).

It rolls up into a clutch with a velcro closure.

Added this squirrel because my sister is a little nutty.  (Just kidding!  She likes the woodland creatures.)

Now that Jonah Walter has arrived, I hope she’ll get lots of use out of it!  Congratulations, Sis!!!

right now

The outside world has been dominated by brown, gray, and white for long enough.  I’m getting impatient for color to return out there.So right now, we’re trying to keep it as colorful and cheery on the inside as we can — with our drawings and paintings, our food (like these cookie pops), bright yarns and fabrics, and especially Adeline’s daily wardrobe choices (usually full of enough clashing colors to make your eyes pop).

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