Wednesday, November 26, 2008


My version of a gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie is in the oven making the entire house smell heavenly. The deviled eggs are made, ready to be assembled in the morning, and the rest of the food is either finished or will be finished soon. The boys are sound asleep in bed, there are candles lit all around the living room, and Jeremy and I are sharing a couch, happy to be relaxing.

So many things to be thankful for. Things I am so very very grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving. God bless all of you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Basket book tag

I made a little basket tag for the boys' winter book collection. I had the idea last summer but didn't get around to trying it until now. My plan is to make one for each season. I tried to keep it simple which was easy since I'm new at trying to pull creativity out of the top of my head. It's hand embroidered on a soft linen and then I machine sewed a back piece on with the little top loops to string wire (or hemp string as it turned out) through. I learned a good lesson though... always leave enough material to stitch around. The linen ended up unraveling in spots when I tried to turn it right-side out and it took some very careful maneuvering to keep the whole thing together. I'm glad I was able to fix it and I'm very happy with how it turned out... imperfections and all.

Friday, November 21, 2008


(Playing in the chicken coop trying to climb up their stairs)

Sawyer is 18 months (and a week) now. It kind of snuck up on me. I kept telling myself that he's still a little baby... that I was just in labor. Wasn't he just learning to smile, to coo, to walk? Now he's running (in that toddler-y kind of way), gets caught up in fits of laughter, can tell me with a look exactly what he's feeling and whether he likes something or doesn't. He's says "no" like a pro and has "mama" and "da" down beautifully.

And while I still call him baby... he's definitely not an infant anymore. He enjoys books but not in the way Ian did. Instead of sitting for long periods looking at page after page, savoring the pictures, Sawyer does a quick perusing, skipping pages, pointing out each thing he recognizes with a quiet, oooooh. When he's done, there's a quick jerk of the wrist and the book is tossed in the air to land randomly on the floor. He loves sitting by the warm air early in the morning, eating grapes, watching the chickens, breastfeeding, and watching anything and everything from the comfort of mama's arms. And he has the cutest way of holding his little feet and hands against each other.

His personality arrived quietly. Showing up in subtle ways... like a light in his eye when we found something he enjoyed or a smirk on his face when he thought something Ian did was funny. He's the most mild yet stubborn little boy I know. Gentle and sweet, preferring to spend most of his time with Ian (whom he adores) or dancing to music. But he's fiery and stubborn when he thinks he should have something he can't or when we won't let him walk around to eat his dinner. He has quickly caught on to the word "no" but will occasionally tell us "yes" when it fits his fancy. A sweet, soft, adorable little... yesh.

He's my little buddy. He follows me from room to room, downstairs to do the laundry and then upstairs to put it away. He's discovered he can push a chair up to the kitchen counter which he loves to do when I'm making dinner. He watches everything. Without ever telling or teaching him, he has learned to put his shoes on the rack and hang his coat up on his coat hook. It's something we taught Ian to do whenever we come in from the outside and Sawyer learned it simply by watching.

(This is the "hey it turned out!" as Ian fumbled with the camera managing to push the button while I'm apparently squashing Sawyer into my head in a kind of artsy pose.)

I always wanted a boy. The second time around I was fine either way... boy or girl... just make sure it's healthy, I'd said. When we found out Sawyer was a boy, I tried to envision what a brother for Ian would be like. Would he look like Ian? Would he sleep as well as Ian has? Would they get along? I had no idea what to expect, like most people, but hoped and prayed for the best. When he was born, I realized he was both different than Ian and similar in many ways. What I realize now after seeing their relationship grow is that his emerging personality is a perfect complement to Ian's. It's becoming more and more obvious how much they love each other. And though they will fight like all siblings, they don't like to be apart for very long. If one realizes that the other isn't in the same room then they will go searching for the missing one until he's found. Sawyer loves following Ian and copying him and Ian loves the tagalong. There is nothing like watching them develop a close friendship where they will take care of and watch out for each other always. My boys... brothers. And I believe it's because of their amazing Dad who hugs and kisses and tickles them daily... never weary of showing affection or asking for it in return. They love him fiercely.

(Warming toes on a cold morning... it's a serious ritual around here)

Last week...little Sawyer turned 18 months and I turned 31. I know neither of us could imagine our life without the other... and that feels good.

We love you sweet bug.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Never a dull moment...

The many faces of Ian.

I can hardly ever get him to sit and draw but ask him to be a dinosaur, tiger, lion, cheetah, leopard, or any type of animal (especially a meat eater) and this kid will pull out all the stops. He will be 4 years old in 3 short months and I'm beginning to see this huge creative side to him. A side I thought would emerge through coloring or building tracks for his cars, but instead it's come out in role playing and making up stories.

It confirms to me even more that both he and Sawyer need time to be quiet and play. No schedules, no agendas, no sitting at the table learning ABC's or numbers. All that will come in time. Right now I want them to be kids, or dinosaurs, or lions, or whatever their minds can come up with and just have fun.

We've chosen not to put him in preschool. We know that whatever he needs to learn there, he can learn right here at home. It's a personal decision I know. But it's one we felt pretty strongly about for Ian. We have a very open schedule at home aside from meal times and naps for Sawyer. So it means the boys can read and play all they want, with whatever they want, inside and outside (which is very important!). I am more concerned that they have lots of time to discover and explore the world around them, then I am with Ian learning to read or to count.

It works really well for us. Our days are not rushed, the boys are happy, and there is plenty of time for dinosaurs and lions to roam the house uninterrupted... which is obviously, very important to Ian.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mud and books

Winter is here in Portland, rainy with grey skies. We've been getting little peeks of blue every now and then but the rain has definitely come. We made it outside in between a drizzle to rake those wet leaves that I've been meaning to get to.

And the boys got some much needed outdoor time in the mud. Ian made a nice soft bed of mud and leaves for a little whale and Sawyer had fun making muddy leaf piles every few feet. The chickens enjoyed the company but made a point of staying clear of the mud piles.


I realized the other day that it really was nearing the middle of November so I brought out the box of winter books that have been waiting all spring, summer, and fall to be looked at again. We spent the afternoon reading through them, putting them away, and then bringing them back out again. And while the boys were busy flipping pages, I went around and boxed away all the spring and summer books until next year.

Some of our favorite winter books are the Little House on the Prairie books for young kids. We have Sugar Snow, Winter Days in the Big Woods, and Winter on the Farm... and we LOVE them. We also love Apple Tree Christmas and The Snowy Day (anything by Ezra Jack Keats!). And I've ordered a few more to add to the 'winter' collection that will be here soon.

What are some of YOUR favorite winter books?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Leaving Fall behind

When I walked outside this morning to feed the chickens I noticed that I was walking on layers of wet soggy leaves which means I should be out there right now raking all of them up instead of sitting here on the couch drinking my hot chai tea latte. Tomorrow, maybe. Oh and we moved the chicken coop from one side of the yard to the other. Now it's under our plum tree... we love it there so much better and I think the chickens do too.

The boys are enjoying the last little bit of autumn when there's a quick break in the rain. Last week, Ian and I snuck out several times in the afternoon, when Jeremy was home and Sawyer was still napping, searching for piles of dried leaves to jump in wishing we had a maple tree of our own.

The chickens love the rain though. They love hiding for cover and then searching for bugs in the aftermath.

We are getting eggs every day now and just last night we found an egg from Ginger who was the last one yet to lay. I was trying not to worry but after what happened to Emmaline I was getting a bit nervous. Thankfully, her first egg laying experience seems to be a success. Here's a little bundle from our fridge: Guinevere lays the darker brown eggs, Willow lays the light brown eggs, and Ginger laid the green one. (Ginger is an Easter Egger and her eggs look like they've been dipped in food coloring.) Beautiful aren't they?


Happy election day! Get out and vote if you haven't already!

**Update- having "comment" problems... trying to fix it.
***Update part deux- It should be fixed now!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Playing dress up

Halloween was short and sweet this year. Ian was a cowboy, complete with chaps, and Sawyer was a bumble bee. Jeremy couldn't resist joining in so he wore a cowboy hat too, although no one seemed to offer him any candy. We walked up and down our block avoiding the "scary" looking homes and about 30 minutes in, Ian asked if we could go home. They were very happy with their costumes and with their loot, but mostly with their costumes... they loved dressing up.

Notice Sawyer's little stinger? And remember these two from last year when Jeremy wasn't sure he wanted any of us trick-or-treating? Well I've finally converted him over to candy and costumes.


Earlier in the day, I took the boys to story time at the library. They had mentioned letting the kid's dress up so Ian wore the Darth Vader outfit that Jeremy's parents had sent him. He was decked out from head to foot and walked into the room proudly and sat among bunny rabbits and fairies. The best part came when all was quiet except for the story being read and suddenly I hear this heavy breathing. I look over and see Ian watching the teacher intently yet doing the best Darth Vader impression I have ever heard from him. Priceless.