Friday, February 29, 2008

Self Portrait Friday

Fun with the camera before we head to the library this morning:

And I found a more productive way to express my need for something new. Painting. Goodbye fall pumpkin and hello nest-egg blue. Just in time for spring!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

It needs more salt...

I think there's something wrong with me. I'm having thoughts about a kitten or a dog..of any age really...even an old one will do. I keep searching through the online lists of animals at the humane society. I think about how fun it would be for the boys to have an animal around here. But what I can't figure out is why. Why in the world do I want an animal right now? We've had pets. Two I loved dearly...our cat Logan who was hit by a car after we moved to NY...and our yellow lab Ellie who we had to give away before our NY move. And then there were the two I didn't love very much. A rash decision on my part to bring home TWO cats at once. After one year and a favorite leather chair that was losing the battle of the claws...we decided to find new homes for them.

Jeremy brought it up first. You know...the reason behind why I might be wanting a little cuddly pet to love. I laughed and pooh-poohed the suggestion as soon as it was mentioned. Another baby? Yeah right I thought. I mean...I don't really want another baby right now. Did I? As much as I adore my boys, the transition from one child to two was a little more difficult than I thought it would be. Ian is a very busy and sensitive boy and Sawyer, well, he just never sleeps so it's certainly been a little harder than I anticipated. But still...could I want another one that soon?

At 2:30 this morning when I was rocking Sawyer in the dark, I analyzed everything. And ultimately I realized what was happening and the only person I could blame is my Dad. It's his fault really. Yeah...that's right...his fault. Phew...I felt much better. I don't really want another baby right now and a pet is just a quick solution to a deeper craving:

My need for shake things up a bit....a touch of salt maybe.

My spontaneous nature is inherited. I grew up with a Dad who would announce in the morning that instead of school that day we were going on a road trip! Or "jump in the car Andrea, let's go for a ride," and we'd end up in the next town over just to get a coke. The two of us even left a guided tour one time to sneak around the 'off limits' area of the servant's quarters (Pittock Mansion, remember Dad?). It's the same reason I'm willing to drive an hour for good biscuits and gravy when we go out to breakfast...because of my dad. My wonderful, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants Dad.

It's funny then that I married a man who needs to take his time and ponder over most every decision. When we were first married, my early Saturday morning declarations that a beach trip is needed and 'oh let's go in an hour!' were met with a dazed look of horror because how could we go without planning first? Close to 9 years later he weathers these outbursts much better and has even admitted to enjoying them once we are on the road.

So I'm thinking that my desire for a pet is the same reason I keep looking at houses for sale. I want a little change. I'm not sure a little kitten or an old dog is the answer...maybe a weekend trip to somewhere will cure me for a little while. Or maybe I just need some good biscuits and gravy for breakfast with my Dad to remind me how good life is right now just the way it is.

But that picture IS cute isn't it? Maybe a little kitten wouldn't be too bad...

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good eats

A typical meal time game between the boys: Sawyer tossing everything onto the floor and Ian more than happy to retrieve it. They laugh the whole time as if they've just invented the best game. And it doesn't matter how many times Ian knocks Sawyer in the head with a toy on accident or runs over his fingers with a car, Sawyer is enamored with him. Ian can make him laugh harder than anyone. This is exactly what I'd hoped for when I knew we were having two boys.

It's funny how I ever worried about what a sibling would be like for Ian and how hard it might be for him to have to share us. Now I see how important it is and what a gift they have in each other.

Sawyer is done eating pureed baby food now. He never seemed to like us feeding him with a spoon because, like his typical nature, he wanted to do it himself. So after a couple months we abandoned the baby food and started him on finger foods. Very soft finger foods because he only has one tooth on the bottom which came in just a couple of weeks ago. So we have to be pretty careful but he's got the mashing thing down pretty good now.

We still don't give him any prepared baby foods in jars or boxes. But I've found some simple finger food ideas that seem to work.

For example: I cut up small pieces of carrots and steam them until they are soft. I spread them individually on a cookie sheet to freeze. Then I put them in a freezer bag and store them in the freezer. When I want to give them to Sawyer, I take a handful out and put them in a mug and run very hot water over them several times until they thaw and warm up. It's extremely easy and Sawyer loves them.

Right now he's eating, soft pears and peaches, applesauce, black beans, peas, carrots, bananas, bread, avocados, scottish oatmeal, and his new love, mangos.

Usually if I'm making something for dinner and part of it is appropriate for him to eat, I will just set aside so he can have some too.

The one thing I find invaluable about this is that he's introduced to a lot of different flavors and smells from the beginning. He doesn't always like them right away but I still offer it and eventually he warms up to them.

Jarred baby food tends to be more bland then real fruit and vegetables and I think it can make a harder transition for kids to go from the jarred version to the real thing. I made all of Ian's food and he eats pretty well so I'm hoping we'll have the same experience with Sawyer!

In the's fun to think outside the box (or jars) and come up with fun combinations and different flavors and textures for Sawyer to try.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Drinking green

I realized after my last post about the donuts that I have never really blogged about food, or rather my food philosophy. Those donuts only made it through the front door because it was a birthday party. They were a nice treat but are very very rare around here.

I believe in eating actual foods. Foods that are grown out of the soil or on a tree. Vegetables and fruits that carry with them vitamins and living enzymes that help aid in digestion. We drink whole milk and and eat whole milk yogurt (seriously good) and when I can get my hands on raw milk I take it in a heartbeat. I love whole grains like quinoa and millet and oats. And we use sweeteners like raw honey, agave nectar, and maple syrup instead of refined sugar.

One of the things we've been having everyday is green lemonade from my juicer. It's a combination of romaine lettuce, spinach, apples, and lemon. It's so clean and crisp tasting and it helps me get more 'green' in my diet without relying on pure salads. Ian loves it too and calls it his green juice. He insists on helping me make it which gives me more opportunities to talk about each one as we put in the juicer.

These type of books seem to be popular right now. I think it's a great way to make certain foods healthier but I don't think it should be a substitute for teaching kids about healthy foods. It's so important to teach them from the start. In the same way we teach them their colors or letters, they should also learn which foods make them strong and give them energy. When Ian drinks his green juice or eats kale in his salad, I make a point to tell him that it helps his eyes so he can see really far. Or that it gives him vitamin C so he won't get sick. Then we flex our muscles to demonstrate how much stronger we feel. Make food fun and they will follow.

I realized when Ian was a baby that if I wanted him to continue his love for squash then I had to continue to make it as he got older. I don't buy junk food or processed food and since it's not in the house he doesn't know what he's missing. He has had candy before but it's very rare. He asks for apples, carrots, bananas, or nuts for snacks because that's what he's always had and he loves them. Children learn by example and diet is no exception. If I want him to eat zucchini and broccoli, then we have to eat it as well. It's been a great motivator.

Lately I've been making these oat bars which are very portable and really yummy. They aren't nearly as sweet as store bought bars which is nice. This is my modified version from Viva le Vegan.

Oat bars

2 cups ground oats (blend quick oats in food processor)
1 cup quick oats
1/2 ts sea salt
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/3 cup fruit sweetener, honey, or agave nectar
1/4 cup milk
2 T canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients into the dry mixture stirring well until combined. Transfer the mixture to a lightly oiled 8 x 8 baking dish and press down making it even along the bottom. Using a knife, score the bars into whatever size you want them. Bake 19 to 20 minutes, then remove and let cool in pan. Once cool, use a sharp knife to cut through the scores to fully cut the bars.

Monday, February 18, 2008

birthday fun

We had Ian's birthday party Saturday morning so we could have an excuse for brunch and coffee. I was in the mood for quiche and he's still young enough for me to decide what to serve at his party and not care so it worked out well for both us. Instead of a cake we decided to have donuts and Ian's eyes lit up huge when he saw his Fruit Loop cereal covered donut with 3 candles in it. Jeremy bought them from Voodoo Doughnuts downtown Portland. The maple bar with bacon on it was a big favorite.

Ian in his cape with the wooden horse.

Sawyer was as happy as can be crawling around on the floor playing with everything his little hands could grab.


We just had a wonderful 3-day weekend with beautiful weather. It was hard to be indoors at all since it was so nice outside. The tulips are already budding and no matter how many times I tell them it's only February they are still intent on blooming soon.

Top 3 pictures from NP

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On love and birthdays

A Happy Valentine's Day to you...and a very happy birthday to a certain 3 year old.

It seems fitting that his birthday should happen to fall on today when he was 3 weeks early and there was really no thought of him being born near this holiday. It was just meant to be. Kind of like the period at the end of a sentence....the nearly 4 year wait is over. Period. You finally have a child of your own. A perfectly sweet day.

We knew our Valentine's Day would never be on the 14th again and we will gladly give it up over and over and over again for him.

If there was any doubt in my mind about sharing today than it was settled this morning when I gave him a hug and kiss and told him happy birthday. We went downstairs and on the table was a card and few little chocolates from Jeremy for me. Ian saw them and started yelling..."PRESENTS! Ian's birthday!". I could hardly tell him no so we shared a few nuggets for breakfast. I mean after is his birthday.

We have a little family party planned for Saturday morning. He's so excited to have a birthday all to himself and he sings the birthday song complete with the quick blow at the end for the imaginary candles that he knows will be there.

He's such a boy. He's busy and very active and loves anything that drives fast and roars loudly. I know I said before that I was sad about him turning 3 because it meant he was getting older. But now that it's here, I couldn't be happier. While I'll never want him to hurry and grow up, I love seeing him become this boy who can carry on a conversation and tell little jokes that he thinks are so funny.

I decided to make him a cape. It's reversible and I'm so happy with how it turned out. He saw me ironing all the fabric last night and kept asking me what I was making. I told him..something special...and he seemed fine with that answer. Can't wait for him to see it on Saturday.

Happy happy 3rd birthday Ian.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


We survived! Jeremy was in San Francisco for work last week and got back Friday evening. It was so nice to have him back home for the weekend.

I was thrilled to have my niece (12) and nephew (15) stay with me the whole time. They helped me more than they realize I'm sure. They played with the boys, kept them company so I could get some housework done, and even helped during the night when the boys woke up. And I got to spend my evenings talking and laughing and spending more quality time with them than I have in a very long time. They are such amazing and caring individuals and I am so very happy that it worked out for them to stay with us. I missed them these past couple of mornings when they weren't here! (pic above taken by Nick while he was here).

I've been wanting to write a follow up post to Plastic World. When I sat down to figure out how to get rid of plastic in our house (and how to avoid buying new plastic), I slowly realized how hard that will be. Plastic is everywhere in nearly everything. But I decided that changing one thing at a time will add up to making a big difference. Once I really looked at things, I realized that plastic is in everything involving kids. Apparently, big companies think 'indestructible' is the only thing suitable for kids. From sippy cups to' items are plastic. There has been a lot recently in the news about kids' toys...whether it's lead paint recalls or toxins in plastic. But toys are only part of it. Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable because they suck and chew on everything which means toxins like BPA's and Phthalates are getting into their bodies at a higher rate. Teethers are even made of plastic.

An alternative to plastic sippy cups I have found is the Klean Kanteen for toddlers. I love this sippy cup! Ian loves it too and it goes everywhere with is. I even bought a couple for Jeremy and me in the bigger size. They do sweat a bit so the insulated sleeves work great. We also have a couple Sigg cups for both boys that are really cute. I like the Klean Kanteen better as a sippy cup but it's nice to have a couple of options.

When Ian was learning to eat I used plastic bibs because I thought they were easier to clean up...just wipe and go! But all they did was end up smelling really bad and I could never get them clean enough after awhile. Then when Sawyer started solids a few months ago I was given several handmade cotton bibs from Anna, a friend of the family. She made me several and I absolutely fell in love with them. First of all...they are so much more comfortable for Sawyer (see how happy he is?). Second...they are so much cuter than the smelly plastic bibs and they wash as simply as a hand towel.

Recently I've been looking for baby and toddler utensils for the boys. All the baby spoons I could find have some sort of plastic on them. Ian has a few stainless steel spoons but the handles are plastic. Then I stumbled on these. And they are just as adorable in person. Ian took right to his which was a great sign since we are constantly reminding him to use his fork or spoon. I'm going to order the cooking set for him since my big spoons are just too much for his little hands.

Have fun browsing! I have more ideas coming but I need to put a little one to bed.

Monday, February 4, 2008


It's one of those days where I have many things I need to do but none that I want to. We are feeling a little out of sorts in the house today. A cough here, a sore throat there, and another gray sky that only signals the continuing of winter and not the return of spring we are waiting for.

I have lots of thoughts filling my head that I'm hoping to post about soon. More about plastics and health. Maybe this week I can find the time to clear my head. We are gearing up for a busy few days so maybe that's why today we don't feel like doing much at all.

Right now the teapot is full and I'm crocheting a few more rows on my ripple blanket in between nursing Sawyer and finding things for Ian to do. It sounds more and more like the perfect day to rest.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

A little cowboy

Finished the smock I've been making for Ian. I wanted something he could wear over his clothes for when he's painting or helping in the kitchen or anything else that could be messy. Complete with pockets where only the important things are carried with, coins, bits of paper, and various toys. I'm really happy with how it turned out. I drew the pattern by hand so it was a bit of a guess and it ended up being a little too big. But there is room to grow if it lasts that long.

I fell in love with the cowboy print which seems fitting now that he has a cowboy hat to go with it.

I read recently how babies and toddlers have a very strong sense of smell. So Ian and I have been smelling our way through my essential oils talking about each one. He loves opening the bottles and then screwing them back on. Such little tasks that take a bit of concentration for little hands. So far he loves the lavender and orange oils.