21 December, 2008

happy hearts, warm home, long night

Tonight we celebrate the Winter Solstice. It is a time that we focus on our family in a simple and nurturing way. We turned down invitations for holiday gatherings tonight, so we can provide a calm presence for our children during the rushed madness that always seems to be the holidays around us. What does this mean? Warms cups of soup, making popcorn strands for the winter angels outside and snowflakes for our home, quiet games and stories, cuddling by the fire, and finding joy in our health and happiness during this longest night of the year. This coming week we will continue to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones around us, but I think it will always be this night I love best. I see it as an opportunity to create our own traditions and enjoy the season in the way I love best - with love and simplicity.

19 December, 2008

Taking care of myself

Over at Simplemom, she is having a giveaway that is reminding me to take care of myself and at this time of year, this can be difficult to do.  When I was in high school, I started a tradition of buying myself a little something at this time of year, just for me.  Maybe a journal or a sweet print that I found at just that right moment and no one else would know I wanted it.  I didn't allow myself to feel guilty or say "I should save that money for...".  I really don't carry on that tradition any longer.  In this tough economic time, I do find myself saving that extra cash for something or somebody else.  Now I think I give to myself by finding the time to care for myself.  Taking that little extra moment to go for a brisk walk or put myself to bed earlier than normal and allowing that chore to remain until tomorrow.  I have found this hard to do this year and appreciate the reminders that it is important to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  Guilt-free.

30 November, 2008

Now let's see if I can live up to this!

You Are An INFJ
The Protector

You live your life with integrity, originality, vision, and creativity.
Independent and stubborn, you rarely stray from your vision - no matter what it is.
You are an excellent listener with almost infinite patience.
You have complex feelings, and you take great care to express them.

In love, you see relationships as an opportunity to connect and grow.
You enjoy relationships when they are improving and changing. You can't stand stagnation.

At work, you stay motivated and happy... as long as you are working toward a dream you support.
You would make a great photographer, alternative medicine guru, or teacher.

How you see yourself: Hardworking, ethical, and helpful

When other people don't get you, they see you as: Manipulative, weak, and unstable

28 November, 2008

I bought nothing today

I resisted and succeeded.  I bought nothing.  Not even milk and we need it.  Tomorrow I will need to head out to Costco for a big shopping trip, but today, nothing.  I feel good about it.  I wasn't even tempted.  The thought of people getting up to be at a store by 4 am to shop, sounds like an absolute nightmare to me.  Instead, I stayed home and enjoyed time with my family.  A day off, just the way I like it.  I want to invite you to consider the idea of living by The Compact.  I do not follow it completely, but I do try and strive for this idea of only buying what we need.  What better way to try and heal what damage our earth has already been dealt, and to stop any further damage we could do.  

23 November, 2008

Homemade Holiday Links

Whether you are always in the spirit of making gifts for the holidays or find yourself in a tight spot this year, I have found some ideas for a holiday from scratch.  I think this allows us to dwell on what this time of year is really about and be thankful for what we have and are able to create.
  • Looking for fun gifts for your kids - check out these ideas for felt boards.  I love the idea of making theme sets - holidays, three bears, little red hen, very hungry caterpillar, etc.
  • Photobooks are always appreciated.  Make your own or order from your favorite site - some ideas could be an alphabet book for the kiddos using their personal faves, or putting together a personal recipe book of family favorites.
  • Check out this list of found ideas from nea over at What's in a name?  I particularly love the recipes from Whole Foods - cinnamon pancakes anyone?  Yummy.
  • Also, check out nea's set of wooden blocks she made for her son.  It seems that a set of basic wooden blocks can entertain kids for hours.
  • Kids into building? Be green and reuse old cereal boxes, oatmeal containers, toilet paper rolls, etc by wrapping them in plain colored paper to make big cardboard blocks.
  • I couldn't leave out the crockpot.  Yes, the crockpot lady has figured out how to make candles in the crockpot.  Who knows what she'll think of next.
  • Know someone with kids living in a small space?  This easy to use and easy to store puppet theatre in the doorway is a great gift with a set of puppets.  Even better make your own easy puppets or give the family a materials to make their own sock puppets.  
  • I will never forget the sweet and tangy flavor limoncello from our trip to Italy - try out this lovely recipe from Sunset and maybe bottle it up for your favorite holiday hostess or fellow lover of all things Italian.
  • And, lastly I love this idea from Martha Claus and her elves, to sew these adorable leaf motif pillows for someone.

07 November, 2008

Halloween (one week late)

Pumpkin time with Mama.

Trying to pose in Halloween garb.

Quickly got the hang of it.

Okay, I finally posted some photos.  I will add more later because I am not able to upload all the photos right now.  Amongst all the hope and disappointment that everyone if feeling, I find myself pulling inward and focusing on what is most important for me, my girls.  Whatever rights I have or don't have right now will not take away the love, strength, compassion, tolerance, endurance, and passion, that exist in our home.  Who else could teach this to me, but our two toddlers.  Patience and faith is not only being tested outside our walls, but inside, as well, as we continue to struggle with sleep, behavior, and potty issues.  Sound familiar to anyone?  Yes, we will overcome.  Political really is personal, isn't it?  

04 November, 2008


This is our moment. This is our time –to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
- President-Elect Barack Obama, November 4, 2008

I will finally allow myself to feel hope.  Tonight I felt awe.  Complete and utter awe at where our nation has come to and at the healing that can now begin after this past 8 years.  Let us celebrate tonight and allow ourselves to feel proud of who we are and who we can be.

03 November, 2008

What to write?

Okay, I know there's no kid pictures. Sorry to disappoint. I've been in a personal dilemma lately. What do I write on here? Do I really want to blog? Is what I say worth reading for anyone? Does it make me vain to think so? I could update everyone on the kids (don't worry, I will), rant about the current political issues (okay, maybe I'll do that, too), or just randomly talk about anything I want to (which I am obviously doing now).

I do want to say that I am nervous, yet hopeful. Tomorrow will bring us a change in some way, yet we just wait. Well, not just wait. Of course, there is work to be done between now and then, and it definitely won't end with tomorrow. The work will still be there. I am just holding on to that glimmer of hope that I feel that this is the point of change we've been waiting for. I am hoping to get another "yes on prop 8" caller at my house tonight. They caught me off guard last time, so my argument didn't sound quite the way I wanted it to. I am all prepared now. Wouldn't it be great to have the missionaries show up at my door, too? Would I invite them in? Offer some decaf tea? And, then unload. I sure hope I would.

09 October, 2008

Halloween is getting closer...

Our favorite season is here and favorite holiday just around the corner.  Can you tell they are excited?  I think the costume ideas change everyday.  Cat, mermaid, dragon, monster, and so on.  I have learned to not rush out and get costume supplies or search craigslist too much.  It could change tomorrow.  Yet, it is all so fun to anticipate.  In the meantime, our harvested pears are creating such a sweet aroma in the house tonight while the crisps cook.  
This time of year just reminds me of what family is all about and to remember these moments.  I want to nest and get ready for winter hibernation like the good mama bear I am.

07 October, 2008

My little Scout

This month for my book club we are reading the classic To Kill a Mockingbird.  I read it in high school, but this was the first time I read it since then.  What a wonderful book to read again.  Like the first time, I was completely smitten with one of the most memorable and likable characters in American literature,  Scout.  It made me think about what I first thought of Miss Scout when I read it as a teenager.  I remember thinking that she was the kind of daughter I would love to have as my own.  I wanted to be the kind of parent Atticus is.  Honest and steadfast in my beliefs and letting my children see this through my choices and actions everyday.  

We now are raising our children in a world that allows so many more opportunities for our children, particularly for our daughters, yet we continue to fight for a world of equality and justice.  My oldest daughter is my little Scout.  She already goes against the grain and challenges people's ideals and expectations of how a little girl is supposed to behave.  At times her energy and spirit is a challenge, but I have to admit she makes other children appear boring.  Even in the Bay area, amongst a "liberal" community, the gender roles and expectations still exist for our children.  I wince when I hear my liberal educated friends make comments questioning my children's behavior or justifying their own children's behavior based upon gender stereotypes.  I find myself falling into the trap and explaining my daughter's behavior when I should be proud of the person she is.  The daughter I always wanted, my little Scout, is right here with me.  I hope I can prove to be the kind of parent she is worthy of having.

06 October, 2008

Rings a little too true...

We got a good laugh from this story, yet it also makes me stop and think a moment about where I am and where I thought I would be.  I always knew I wasn't that alternative, but I never thought I would be quite this normal either.  Check out Goin' Suburban: Confessions of a Lesbian Housewife.  It makes me want to run out and buy the latest Ani cd.

05 October, 2008

Addictive, yet for a good cause

Help end world hunger

I am warning you, this is very addictive, especially when you start to see your bowls of rice fill up.

24 September, 2008

Mama's little helper

I have to admit something.  I have a love affair on the side.  And, actually, Mo is quite aware of it and supports it wholeheartedly.  I love my crockpot.  Well, actually I now have two of them.  Three, if you count the little dipper, which I've actually never used, but I've heard it's great for fondue.  I have to let people know about my little obsession because I happen to think that everyone should be converted.  I am on a mission.  I am not the only one.  In the last month or so I discovered A Year of Crockpotting.  This is a blog by a woman whom has committed to one year of using her crockpot everyday.  I think I have only made a couple recipes and there are loads I want to try (the chicken and rice one today looks pretty tasty), but I have to check it everyday just to see what she is up to.  I think our favorite recipe around here lately is making steel cut oatmeal overnight by steaming it in the crockpot.  You wake up to warm, yummy oatmeal without having to take the time to cook it in the morning.  The girls will even eat it.  We call it porridge around here,  so that helps with the persuasion.   

22 September, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mo!

This is a little belated in getting posted due to me having trouble on the actual day, but better late than never, right?  

A lot of blogs post photos of the delicious food served for a special occasion.  Don't get me wrong, I probably would've done the same had I remembered to grab the camera amongst the chaos of getting dinner on the table tonight.  I am particularly proud of my homemade butternut squash gnocchi that I made for Mo's birthday dinner tonight, but I realized that it is the chaos and the mess that takes up most of my time.  Given this, I decided to show you the mess.  There was so much chocolate cake on the ground I even secretly allowed our dog with food allergies to sneak bites off the ground every now and then until I decided to shoo her away.  Bad doggie mama! 

So, happy birthday, to my Mo.  It is chaos and love around here everyday and nothing is different today, except today we celebrate you.  We celebrate the love, creativity, and stability you bring to our home everyday.  Our girls cherish you and love you so much as do I.  Life hasn't been particularly easy lately and I hope you know that we always love you.  

21 September, 2008

A glance back

                                                                                                 On our trip we took the girls to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is always a favorite for everyone.  I love watching the joy appear across their faces as they explore the water, see all the amazing colors of the ocean, and watch the fish, penguins, otters, and all the other animals play.  These photos are of Emma at almost one year old, on her first trip to the aquarium, 
and of Molly, at 18 months old, on her second trip.  It is fun to see how this one tank can captivate them so much.  

19 September, 2008

Summer is almost over

The girls enjoying time with their Aunties.

There is nothing quite like coming home after a long trip away.  Especially, when you cleaned the house before you left and it starts raining right after you arrive.  We've come home from sand, sun, and long, sunny days, to be greeted by the smell of fresh rain.  As Emma would say, "it feels so cozy here."  We had a great trip seeing old friends and spending time with family, and getting the opportunity to spend long, lazy days with our girls.  But, it is always good to be home.  I will post more photos of our trip as I upload them to the camera.

30 August, 2008

Little glimpses...

First pigtails!
Priceless moments.
Hot Day.  Dinner at the beach.

23 August, 2008

Last days of summer

We are enjoying these final days of summer and it definitely feels like it around here with the warm days and chilly evenings.  With fall just around the corner, we seem to spend every evening eating outside and playing until bathtime, wanting to savor this last bit of time we can.  The girls are starting to play with each other more and it is a pleasure to watch.  Of course, there are those moments of they've pushed each other's every last nerve, but overall it is so sweet to watch them together.  Some of the things we have been doing to name a few are swimming, art projects, puzzles, gardening, cooking, playing with friends, etc.  It seems like everytime we start one activity, it is not too long until it is done and time to move on.  

One of my guilty indulgences is checking out other blogs online to find ideas for activites, frugal living (a given around here), recipes, and to be honest blatant voyeurism into some people's lives that are different from mine.  And, speaking of fall just around the corner, check out this blog for a great giveaway with lots of great gifts for my favorite season: www.simplemom.net.

20 August, 2008

A work in progress

No longer do we have our mac account to post photos of the girls, so we will finally give in to the land of blogs.  Look forward to future photos and what else?  I am not quite sure yet.  Let me know if there is anything you would like to see, but like other mama bloggers, I will keep you updated on the kids, plus other things that entertain me to muse about.