Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yarn along- my first sweater

                              I am working on my first sweater. It's for Unity and I love the yarn and how soft it is. It won't be finished by her birthday ( which is Tuesday!) so I'm not stressed about it, I'm just enjoying the process.

I'm reading A Plain Life by Scott Savage which is a facinating memoir about a man who is walking to Columbus Ohio to give up his driver's license. Savage is a Quaker but a more conservative kind. His family lives and dresses very similarly to the Amish. It's interesting to read about the things they gave up and why, and it makes a lot of sense to me even if I'm not there.

The other is Everything by Kevin Canty, for my book club. It's very realistic, set in Montana, and focused on the simple struggles and joys of a few people. I'm just starting it but so far the bare simple style is a nice change from the other things I've been reading.

Linking with Ginny for lots more yarn and books.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A fragile thread, the powerful life urge

My cousin Ryan recently had a baby, little Ryan Joseph. He was born over three months prematurely and is living in the NICU until his due date in May.

My heart goes out to them. Every day I find myself remember how hard and strange that newborn time is, and then to have such a series of complications and medical issues. He's doing well though. Strong and getting stronger. The urge to live is so powerful, even in someone so small.

My cousin Kristi is going to be walking in a fundraiser for March of Dimes at the end of April.

More info here.

and you can check up on little Ryan here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

This weekend- busy bees

My second batch of sourdough is not quite as pretty as the first.

This weekend was a whirlwind of socializing. It's amazing. Friday Brixton and I went to the Arboretum with big Desi, Joey and their moms. I didn't take my camera, sometimes it feels like it gets in the way. I'm sure I would have just captured a bunch of toddler moments anyway. The kids spent about 15 minutes throwing rocks in the lake, which was amazing and the moms actually got to talk.

Saturday morning I had a writing date with my friend Thea from Meeting. A writing date! It was lovely. We went to a coffee shop and worked side by side and stopped every now and then to chat. We are both moms without much time so it was really nice to have that morning and we are hoping to do it again soon. While we were working, Chris took the kids to see a Ugandan Orphan Choir at the Northwest African American Museum. From what I hear, it was a very good performance.

Saturday night we had date night. We were supposed to go over and hang out but Harper's mom got sick and couldn't have her date. Soooo, Chris and I went out. We hung around a lovely bookstore and went to our favorite noodle shop. Yum.

Sunday morning. I was taking a turn in the Primary Care room at Meeting, which is kids under five. Our Meeting is becoming known for "the Meeting with the kids" and it's true. In the Primary Care room that day were eight kids under five. It's a lot for such a small Meeting (84 adults.) I love watching our community grow.

Sunday night we went to see a play. It was a-maz-ing. To see one actor play 30 different characters, with accents and body movements, and the story itself- of identity and survival, it was so very powerful. We went with some friends of mine from Earlham who are now living in Seattle and are big theatre buffs so that was a very nice element to the evening.

And now on to our week. (The school choice form comes out today. Sigh.)

Linking with Amanda for Weekending.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Budding Scientists

                                What to do with a long weekend? Well, other than visiting with Grandma,
                                one thing we did was venture out to the Science Center with Meridian and

                                      It was fun to have all four kids together. They work well as a group.
                                  Unity and Meridian took turns lying in the dino footprint.

                                 And they all held hands in the butterfly house.
A butterfly landed right on Archer's head. And I missed the shot by a few seconds! So, um, just
pretend there's a big butterfly there. It was cool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Puddle Dancing

                               This place that live- it's soft around the edges. It's grey and green.
                               It's a little soggy, a little frayed. People don't have the shiny hard edges
                               they develop in some other places.

                                Most of the time we don't get caught in deep drifts of white, chilling sparkles
                               that float down from the sky. Most of the time we can walk easily through our
                               winters with just a little covering, a splash on our hems.
                                    And no matter where in the city you are, there's always a coffee shop just up
                                    the street, with warmth and light and that deep rich taste that makes your brain
                                    buzz a little against the grey.

It's not easy, I don't think any place is easy, but it's gentle, most of the time.
     And it holds us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The latest craze

              Chris and Unity have been working on this puzzle together every night after dinner. It's a nice father-daughter project and a good way to wind down the day. Plus Unity gets to stare at the faries and unicorns and castle while she does it.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


                    We're staying pretty close to home this weekend. Grandma Ann is visiting for a few days and it's nice to just curl up and read stories and not worry about doing too many things.

                                                 Discussing the important things.... books and snacks?

                                                 Unity's outfit for Meeting for Worship.

We decided it's time to put the toddler bed rail on the crib, so Brixton has more mobility. He is a pretty good sleeper, and sometimes when he wakes up in the morning he just wants to retrieve a book and get back in bed. We're hoping he can now do this all on his own. We shall see.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Field Trip for a cause

  Yesterday I got to be a chaperone for a field trip Unity's class took to a local food bank.

                              The kids all hold on to the rope. They call it "Mr. Roper" and they sing and chant
the whole time. It takes quite a long time to walk the three block to the food bank. They are each holding a can of food in a little bag with their other hand.
                              We talked in very basic terms about what the food bank is and why people need it.

                                             Then we got the grand tour, of the giant fridge and freezer.

I'm glad the kids are learning about service at an early age. Even if it's a very basic beginning, it's still a beginning.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Have you seen my bita-nuna?

Brixton has a couple of made-up words that he uses for comedic effect. Like this:

What do you want for breakfast Brixton?
Bita-nuna! (Ha ha ha.)

                                Unity climbed into his crib to keep him company. So far she hasn't
                                taught him how to climb out. So far.

I feel like 80% of the conversations I'm having lately are about schools. We have gone on tours of four local public school and are trying to decide which ones to apply for. (We are assigned to a neighborhood school but we may apply to any school in the city, we just might not get in. Some are "option schools" which are like magnet/ alternative schools and some are just other neighborhood schools.)

I am the kind of person who does my research. If one of the kids is having sleep issues, for example, Chris knows that soon a huge pile of children's sleep books will show up from the library. I just get interested in something and pursue it by reading as much as I can. So I am constantly asking everyone I know what school their kid goes to and how they like it.

I know I'm overthinking a little, but it's hard because I know that wherever she ends up is going to shape our lives for the next six years and more, assuming Brixton will also go where she goes. It's going to be a major place in our lives. I treasure the person that Unity is now and I want to be a good steward of her talents and gifts and challenges and find the place that will encourage and stretch and help her grow. For a while I wanted to homeschool and I read six hundred books about that, but a conversation with Unity's preschool teacher helped me see that personality-wise that's not a great fit for us. Maybe later on.

So now the visits are all done and I just have to finish filling out the paperwork and decide where we're going to throw our hat into the ring. I know that we will find things to love and things to struggle with no matter where we end up, but I still keep seeking out that next conversation, that next piece of information, trying to find that moment that says "yes. this is the one. This is our bita-nuna."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Monday, February 13, 2012

This Weekend- the twist

                                    Oh man it sure is a Monday. Unity dropped her lunch box on our way out the door to school and her food spilled all over the front porch stairs. Soo, I ran back inside and made her a new lunch and we were on our way. Anyway, let's reminisce about the weekend, shall we?

It was another busy one, which is somewhat typical, but with a new twist. Saturday I made those muffins for a potluck brunch at a neighbor's house. They are cinnamon puffs from the King Arthur Flour cookbook. It was fun to hang out with a bunch of garden punks, all of us talking about what we're sprouting in our basements or fermenting in our kitchens.

In the afternoon Chris had a game day at a friends house, which he's been looking forward to for ages, and then we had date night at Sophie's place. The kids played well together, and even though Brixton was the only little guy, he managed to hold his own. Sophie's parents have bees and I got all excited about the idea. Bees! We could totally do that! Meanwhile Chris is shaking his head, saying "If you want to do this, that's fine, but don't get me involved." Sigh.

Sunday was Meeting, and then Unity had (another!) birthday party to attend.  That evening I went out with my dear friend Megan and we had fabulous Vietnamese food and went to a lovely and inspiring spoken word show.

Ok- so what's the twist? Well in one weekend we did fun social activities as a family and also each individual parent got to spend time with a friend. That hasn't happened was born? Success!

Linking with Amanda at Habit of Being.

Friday, February 10, 2012

This Moment- a sign

Linking with Soule Mama.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


                            Growing something takes time, and attention. It's a different pace, a long slow pace, with little sudden bursts of activity. All of that preparation and checking and letting it sit and then suddenly-

                                 (This is my first sourdough, using lots of help from this book. )

                                   Sometimes you can't see it yet, but you tend the soil and wait and dream....

                                         It's amazing, every time, how all that waiting and gentle attention can
suddenly ease this burst of change, this transformed being, into the world.

Showing us the essence of themselves that was waiting there all along.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Yarn along- knitters dilema solved

So last week I discovered that my stash yarn wasn't quite enough to finish the pillow cover I was working on. You guys had lots of great suggestions for fixing it. I ended up pulling out the purl section and putting in some stripes. I think it looks really nice, maybe even better than before.

On the book front, I'm reading two memoirs. Man Seeks God by Eric Weiner is the story of a neurotic reporter who, faced with a health issue, realized he's not quite sure what ahe believes. He investigates eight different religions, traveling across the world to meet with followers and see if anything works for him. It's a pretty lightweight exploration of the religions, and some of the ones he investigates are pretty flakey, but it's an interesting story so far.

The other memoir is The Journal of Best Practices: a memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome and one man's quest to be a better husband is by David Finch. This is the story of a man who, in adulthood, realized he has asperger syndrome and that it's one of the causes of his troubled marriage. He begins to take notes about being a better husband, things like "don't change the station if she's singing along" and "it's not an appology if you're yelling." I just started this one and I'm excited to see where it goes.

Linking with Ginny for more knitting and reading.

Monday, February 06, 2012

Weekending- full

                        I have to admit, sometimes I find weekends a little overwhelming. I spend so much time during the week lining up playdates and activies and projects for my kids. And then the weekend comes and I have to do it again, only for all four of us.

I made a curtain for the bathroom on Saturday night. It's only the second thing I've sewn. I still find it difficult and the results less than perfect but I remind myself that if I dug up the second thing I ever knitted, it wouldn't be a stunning work of art either.

We started our broccoli seeds in the basement. Grow, little sprouts, grow!

My friend Zelda called me on Saturday and invited me to join her at a book festival at Seattle University. I was only able to see one of the speakers, John Dear, but he is an amazing peace maker, and he had some thought provoking things to say. I'm on the waiting list for his book at the library because I want to hear more of this story.

Sunday night we had a potluck at Quaker House to welcome a new intern to the program. It was fun to hang out with the interns and the other committee folks. My kids were bouncing off the walls by the end though. Do you ever have a day with one of your kids where you feel like you are swimming upstream all day long? Yeah, me neither. Can't relate at all.

Linking with Amanda at Habit of Being.

Friday, February 03, 2012

There's something growing in my kitchen...

I know, I know, usually that's a bad thing. Check it out though: kombucha, sourdough starter, kimchi.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Nature Walk

A few months ago, Unity's preschool toured a fire station. The firefighters gave them some coloring books that illustrate how and when to call 9-1-1. One of the charming activities was this word search.

                                 You have to wonder who created this, Wednesday Adams? Honey, can you find
                                 s-e-v-e-r-e p-a-i-n?

                                         We went to the Arboretum. Unity took her notebook and carefully
                               recorded what we saw. Stick. Rock. Tree.  Hey, it's better than b-u-r-n.
                              Much much better in fact.

                                Somehow she's all Reese Witherspoon and he's all James Dean.

All that nature inspired us to come home and work on some collaborative paintings. And no, there were no i-n-j-u-r-i-e-s.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Yarn along- a knitters dilemma

                        So here's the story. A few months ago a woman offered to sell off her stash for cheap. I couldn't turn down that offer so I bought it and I've been trying to use that yarn in my projects. Well I started my second pillow for the couch, worked on it for a week or two, got more than half way through it. Only to run out of yarn.

I called around to three local yarn stores. None of them carry that type of yarn. Soooo, I think I have two choices here.
1. I could order it online. It seems a little silly to spend money on more yarn when the whole point was that it was bargin yarn.
2. Or I could unravel and make something else with it. A scarf? I just have to say, I have a really hard time unraveling a whole project. A row or two sure, but the whole thing? Shiver.

So while I'm deciding what to do, I started a new project. Of course. I'm learning a new stitch, the linen stitch which is very cool, esp. with the varigated yarn.

I'm reading three books right now, one for my book club, one for my online book club and one for fun.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery is for my book club. I'm about 100 pages into it and I'm still reserving judgement. It's translated from the French and it's beautiful but a little stilted so far.

My online book club is reading the Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper. We're on number three,
Greenwitch. and I'm enjoying it.

The third book is just for fun, Po Bronson's What Should I do with My Life? I like reading the stories of people who are in a crossroads in their lives and make big changes. My criticism is that the book focuses almost exclusively on people who work in business or law, and not enough on the people I'm interested in (non-profit workers and artists.) It still has a lot of interesting ideas.

Linking with Ginny for lots more yarn and books.