July 22, 2014

29/52 and After Dinner Treats


This week he: wanted to stay by my side as much as he could, 'because I like you, mama'... how can I argue with that!? / rode his scooter a lot and played at every park in town / built an amazing tower city with his blocks (that somehow we didn't photograph) / loved going deep in the pond with daddy, and getting tossed up high / told me he would take care of his sister's dolly. he's never shown any interest in dolls and I thought his nurturing side was coming out, until he finally added... 'I like her because her head smells delicious!'. and actually, it does ;)

This week she:  cried whenever daddy left, she is already such a daddy's girl / have I mentioned that she can stand without pulling up on anything? yeah, that's her thing, again and again with a beaming smile of pride / tried to crawl into the fireplace, got stuck in a million places, and generally looked for mischief / had daddy and I laughing as she played with her brother's train, complete with engine noises (I guess if you hear something all day every day, you are bound to imitate it!) / woke up very early. often.


Our days have been full with all the basics of summer; swimming, lots of ice cream, staying out too late, waking up too early, trying to squeeze in all the usual chores. I feel like so little is getting accomplished, but also like I'm running around constantly. Maybe that is just every mother, but it seems especially true as of late. 

As baby Roo is quickly approaching her first birthday, my mind is busy. I often find myself quiet and lost in thought. Some of it is about her, our family, and the speed of these years... but it's also more than that, and maybe one of these days I will find myself well enough rested and with the extra time to sift through the threads and write them down.

I keep promising myself to be more consistent with blogging, I string together a few days, and then fall back off the rhythm. I started this blog when Little Smith turned one, and it does feel as though that same creative energy that prompted me to create this space is swelling again. At least in my experience, the first year of a baby's life is really a blur. I thought that all of that would be different the second time around, but I have found myself equally disoriented and taken by surprise with our little girl. I love the baby phase, truly, and in some ways it is easier than toddler tantrums, but it is also all-consuming... and I am still consumed at the moment. I'm drained that my baby can't nap on her own, and yet so aware that I am going to desperately miss holding her in my arms and watching her sleep. As I sigh and wish to be needed less, I already miss being needed. Transitions are complicated, and I imagine never more so than in motherhood. 

So that's where we are; eating popsicles and dangling our toes in the water and completely given over to the care-free days of summer, well with the exception of my over-active brain that always seems to follow us around, uninvited. I'm grateful Roo's birthday is in August, imagine how wild my thoughts would be running with a good coating of snow and 5PM sunsets!

July 15, 2014

More Thoughts On Cloth

Since I've proven to be hopeless at potty training, I thought I would give a little update on how diapering is working in our house these days (I'm an ace at diapering, a dubious honor, for sure!). Last year I wrote a about our experience with cloth diapers. Long story short, it's a bit of of hard work. Still, I am compelled to try to use cloth as much as possible. It saves us money, it's significantly better for the environment (at least in my understanding of the numbers... and since Little Smith will be attending college in diapers, it seems only fair to do our part), and I prefer putting that soft fuzzy fabric against my baby's tushy over the disposable stuff. There's also just something nice about being self-sustaining, like making a meal with home-grown veggies... sure the market would have been just a nutritious, but it's somehow less satisfying than keeping it all in-house. 

When baby Roo was first born, we set aside our cloth for a few months. I really applaud people who go with cloth for a newborn, but personally there was no way I could have added a single extra laundry cycle to my sleep deprived plate. When she turned 5 months, we finally felt up to the extra challenge. I decided to give up on Little Smith and just switch him to disposable training pants (cloth on big kids who should really be out of diapers is just... unpleasant) and focus our efforts on the baby. 

We had used a combination of FuzziBunz and BumGenius brands the first time around, but the velcro on our BumGenius was all worn out and there was no way I was going to sew on replacements. I tossed the worn ones and ordered a package of 12 additional Fuzzi's 'One Size', figuring keeping everything consistent would help simplify the 'stuffing' process.

Of course nothing is ever that easy, and in the few years since we purchased our first diapers, FuzziBunz completely redesigned the 'One Size'. I won't go into too much detail, since there's no shortage of web reviews devoted to the subject with far more expertise than I can provide, but it's pretty obvious that the old version (on the left in the photo above) is a less pastel color and a trimmer shape. The trimness made 'stuffing' (working the absorbent part into the shell after each wash) more difficult, but it also made them fit much better under clothes. My kids are pretty lean, even Roo's rolls are deceptively slim, and the new style gives a very poofy booty. We make it work, but I did prefer the old style. Isn't that always the way?

^^^same 'one-size' diaper on Little Smith (top) at 2 years and baby Roo (bottom) at 11 months^^^

I do think this style of diaper, with the size adjustments on the inside, is so much nicer than seeing all the snaps on the front. I'm amazed by how those elastics can transform the same piece of fabric to fit a tiny baby all the way up to a toddler. Cloth diapers are a pricey purchase up front, but I definitely feel like we have gotten our money's worth. 

With all our good intentions, we still do use disposable diapers about 25 percent of the time. I always go with disposables for travel or long days out of the house when I know there will be lots of changes. There's also those times when the laundry just hasn't made it through, or when James is home alone (he is a sucker for convenience, that daddy!). I guess we are 'hybrid diaperers' (some cloth, some disposables), and I'm really fine with that.

I'm hoping that baby Roo doesn't share Little Smith's fondness for diapers and actually graduates from them in a couple years, but it is kind of fun seeing our cloth rainbow drying on the line. If you have to wipe tushies a dozen times a day, you might as well try and make it pretty, right?!

July 14, 2014

Almost Garden

Our garden is right on the edge of exploding. We are snatching only enough cucumbers for snacking, and patiently planning a big pickling day in the near future. We are thinning the carrots and waiting on them to grow (Little Smith just loves those tiny thinnings!). We are popping cherry tomatoes and watching the larger varieties start to blush. There's so much that should be done, the window of time is limited with baby people in tow, but our little plot is enjoyed, as full of weeds and pests as it may be. 

I love this time of anticipation, waiting for it all to take off. In a few weeks there will be giant heads on sunflowers and heavy red tomatoes, a baby celebrating her first birthday, and possibly taking some fledgling steps. I'm so looking forward to what is ahead, and truly relishing in the almost

^^^upon hearing the baby yelp, 'are you being nice to your sister?'... (long pause, then a barely audible) 'yesss' ^^^

July 13, 2014



This week he: discovered his evil villain voice (from where??)... lots of defiant talk, eg. 'I not doing dat, you silly girl'... say whaat?! / convinced me to agree to a spur of the moment trip to Walden Pond, and 'swam' in sagging shorts before polishing off an enormous ice cream cone / spotted his first monarch butterfly of the season, they are his favorite / convinced all of us to agree to a spur of the moment trip to the zoo, where he also launched down the tallest slide I've ever seen. he's very persuasive that kid!

This week she: drank pond water, bath water, spray park water... she'd lap up every puddle if we let her / stood up once without pulling up on anything, that's still her main project these days / loved the giraffes at the zoo, and desperately wanted to grab them / spent lots of time giggling with her cute scrunched up nose /  took many naps with daddy (still no napping on her own though, not that we've really tried).

July 9, 2014

Details C7.01

tasty season tiny shoes farmer's tan morning moxa most patient of three year olds his little nook witching hour dinner prep simple eating dessert helper bachelor buttons

It's hot. We were away last weekend, celebrating the fourth of July with family and taking full advantage of central air and swimming pools, and now we are back to stripping down, sweating, and delighting in the cool breeze of each passing rain. Don't ask why we refuse to invest in more than a single window AC unit for our entire household. I guess we must just enjoy the challenge. I did end up putting that one AC (traditionally installed in our living room) in the kid's bedroom last week. Baby Roo just wasn't sleeping in the heat, so in a fit of desperation I located our massive unit in the attic, dragged it downstairs, and sliced the crap out of my hands forcing it into position... typical of me. When I decide something needs to get done, you better not try to stand in my way! I guess they call that stubborn, but I will say that both kids have slept great with all that cool air and white noise.

Daily logistics are certainly getting more complicated now that our baby is fully mobile. She is faster every day, is very close to pulling herself head over heels into the bathtub, and is putting a ton of effort into standing on her own. This stage is so different the second time around, with my attention divided. We have never been big on 'babyproofing', and I just hope our luck holds out and we continue to escape major mishaps. It feels like the very edge of things getting pretty wild around here, and there's so much going on that my head is sort of spinning and I'm just crossing my fingers for extra stamina. 

So truthfully, I am a little overheated and overwhelmed at the moment... and yet I am enjoying it, and refusing to complain in earnest. This is exactly what I spent so many of those endless winter days dreaming of; an abundance of garden grown food, a baby on the move, a shirtless shoeless boy, and sunlit dinners. Summer is very good to us, and I am doing my best to keep up. 

July 8, 2014



This week he: faced forward and actually watched the whole fourth of july fireworks show for the first time / spent two days splashing in the pool with his cousin / had a bunch of melt-downs over almost nothing (as always seems to be the case around family) / melted my heart by saying things like, 'mama thank you for this dinner, it's delicious' / drove me nuts by luring his sister to stay awake and prolonging bedtime (these two... the trouble begins!)

This week she: fell asleep during the firework show / went swimming for the very first time /  impressed everyone with her continued easy going temperament / stood without holding on, and started trying hard to stand up in space (without pulling up) / struggled with naps and bedtime (she keeps standing!) / ate like a champ, it's amazing to watch this girl pack it away.


Did you know that we basically live in the city? We are on the border of Cambridge and only a short bus ride from Boston, and we actually do take advantage of everything that proximity to a big city has to offer... but I rarely choose to document those moments. I'm not exactly sure why, except that I grew up in the country, and spent much of my early years in Boston longing for the familiar comforts of wide open space, green gardens, and a decent kitchen... and now that I finally have carved out a plot in our community garden and scored an ample kitchen, that's the part of our lives that I typically want to celebrate. 

I have spent so much time fretting over the life that we are providing for our children, trying to give them a good dose of the 'country' that I relished as a child, despite a more urban home turf... but there are also so many obvious advantages to celebrate with access to the culture and architecture that comes with city life. In fact when we moved to our current 'hood, we were very deliberate in not emigrating to the more spacious 'burbs, precisely so that we could still feel engaged in city living (okay, well maybe that was James's idea!). I am finally coming to realize what a special opportunity that balance affords, and so it's one of my mid-summer resolutions to do a better job of chronicling our urban adventures, even if we are just seeking out the green spaces in our city* (what can I say? I'm still an outdoor girl, through and through!).

*These images are from a Sunday stroll down the garden mall in the middle of Commonwealth Avenue... and isn't that a lovely limestone building behind us in several of the pictures? It must have been designed by a very talented architect (aka daddy!).