Sunday, October 30, 2011

a trial run

We decided to do a practice trick or treat run at our neighborhood business district. This is the first time Brixton's been aware of this whole Halloween thing. He would walk up to each merchant and say "ticka teat" and show off a piece of candy. He was amazed when each time, they smiled and gave him more. I loved his monkey costume and Unity loved being Fancy Nancy, her favorite children's book star. She told me that this is how she wants to look every single day. And now we get to do it again tomorrow!

Linking with Amanda at Weekending.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thursday, October 27, 2011

This old house- color and light

The house project is slowing down a bit as we come up against some limits- both temporal and financial. Still, we now have color and light. Big steps for those basement stairs. We choose a warm but light blue for the walls- I think it was called Blue Horizon. I wanted something that would feel open and light in that space. Especially since I am often dragging laundry up and down those stairs. Dan also had the idea to add a skylight. Brilliant! I can already feel the difference it makes being able to see the sky- even when there's not much light outside.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gearing up

So in less than a week I'm going to be starting National Novel Writing Month.  For those who don't know, you commit to writing 50 thousand words in a month. I did it last year and it was great. Hard of course, but a good reminder that I can find room for creativity in my life if I prioritize it. I'm excited and also, I know that certain other things are going to have to take a step back for a month. I'll read less books. I'll knit less. I'll watch fewer movies with Chris in the evenings. I might be blogging less, we'll see.

Have you heard that story about the jar of rocks? It's a common one at college orientations. The empty jar stands for your life, or your time. The big rocks stand for your values and your big priorities- the things you want to look back on and be proud of. The small rocks are all the little time wasters and guilty pleasures and errands that eat up the day. The idea is that you have to put the big rocks in first, and the small ones will find the cracks. But if you fill up the jar with the small rocks there won't be room for the big ones and you find yourself ignoring what means most.

So. The writing is important and I'm trying to clear out some of the little rocks to make room for it, while still managing to feed my family and other details like that. Cross your fingers for me, it's a wild ride.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A walk in the woods

Ok, you say. Relaxing, that's all well and good. But what were the children doing? And here is some of your answer.

Monday, October 24, 2011


       This weekend I went on a retreat. Alone. Ok, I wasn't really alone, but Chris and the kids stayed home. Recently I was asked to join the board that runs the Quaker internship organization that I particpated in when I first moved to Seattle, eleven years ago. It's been fun coming full circle and hanging out with the current interns that are living in the same house I did, and committing to the same year of simplicity and community that opened so many ways for me. We took the weekend to gather at the beautiful beachside home of some folks from the Meeting. We walked on the beach and read and cooked. We talked about communication skills, and played silly camp games and reflected on our lives. And, I slept in a book nook, complete with a sliding ladder. I wish I could wrap the weekend up in a bow and give it to every parent I know. I feel so replenished.

Linking with Weekending.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

getting dressed

Unity is a total contrast to the way I get dressed. Me: find jeans on the floor, make sure they're clean enough, grab a clean t-shirt off the top of the pile, done. 5 minutes max.

Unity is more focused on clothes as an art. And it shows. Must be a recessive gene.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Yarn along- more cables

This week I'm still working on my cable and ribs scarf. I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have really enjoyed knitting this- even though it's easy to lose my place in the pattern.

As for books, I finsished one and started two, one for my real book club and one for my virtual book club. The book I finished was Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I was actaully very frustrated with it because I really loved her main character and her world building but then the plot went in some very predictable and tired directions. I read another YA book last year with pretty much the exact same "exciting plot twist" and a very similar doomed love involving angels. It was hard for me to read something that had the potential to be so good and have it tank.

For my real book club we're reading Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh  and for my virtual book club we're reading the Dark is Rising series, starting with Over Sea, Under Stone. I'm excited about both of these, even though I'm just starting them.

Linking with Ginny for more yarn and books.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

simple gifts

                                           Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free

Ok this is one of those things I never would have cared about in earlier incarnations of my life. But I cleaned out some kitchen cabinets and put down new pretty shelf paper and it was so satisfying. One reason is because mothering is so intangible at times, it can be really nice to have something solid that I can point to at the end of the day and say, "I did that."

But the other thing I was thinking about is simplicity. Simplicity is a big deal for Quakers, one of the core testimonies. These are sometimes abbreviated as SPICES (Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Equality and Stewardship). Simple Gifts is one of the most famous Quaker songs, I learned it early on at Earlham. I've sung it so many times but I started really thinking about the words while I was putting on the shelf paper.

It's a gift. To be simple.

It's not a sacrifice, not a chore. Simplicity gives us something that all our products and gadgets and consumer craziness can't.  (Coming from someone who just bought a new camera. I know.) It's a gift to know that all of that stuff is not going to give us what we really want, what we need. And when we let go of that idea that some new thing or toy is going to be the answer, what we're looking for.

It's a gift. To be free.

Simplicity makes us free.

Of course, it might also be true that I loved that clean corner of the kitchen because the rest of my house looks like this:

It's a process, right? But I hope that my privileged North American kids, in their wealth of toys and clothes, remember what the real gifts are.

Monday, October 17, 2011

the pumpkin patch

Can't you feel the warm family togetherness?

Oh my stars, do I love pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, all of it. So it was with great pleasure that we took the fam to a large pumpkin patch yesterday. We went with Felix (who just turned six!) and his dad Dan, and Keira and Samara and their dad Scott. The kids romped in the muddy fields and we all selected several mamoth pumpkins to bring home. It was the perfect place for a family shot, so of course Unity was super grumpy about the camera. Chris said that it was like a harvest ritual for people with fancy cameras, and it's true. We did just get a fancy camera that I have been dreaming about for a while, and everyone there was pointing crazy lenses at their kids in the pumpkin patch. Oh well. I guess there are worse types to be.