Thursday, January 30, 2014

This Old House- pretty much finished

Ok, nothing is ever really finished when your house is over a hundred years old but....

hey look, it's our new bathroom. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


That moment, when you see a friend's toddler wearing a cute hoodie...

and you remember another sweet baby who used to wear it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How we give

          The kids each have a bank called moonjar, from a local company. It has three sections, one each for share, spend and save. The idea is that when they get their allowance, they can divide it up into the three categories. (Yes, we are back into our Saturday morning routine of family meeting followed by cleaning and allowances. It makes such a difference!)

Chris and I are also inspired by the moonjar categories. Of course, ours aren't so equally distributed, but it's important to both of us to support organizations that we believe are doing good work in the world.

Our charitable giving wasn't always very organized. I realized at one point that I was giving a lot of organizations $20 each, which is not a very effective way of supporting an organization or an effective way of using our money.

Last year we came up with a system that worked well for us and this year we are going to continue it. At the beginning of the year we set aside a lump sum of charitable donation money for the year in a separate bank account. (Our credit union lets us set up as many accounts as we would like, which is another reason why we love them.)

Then each month, we choose an organization to support, and I use our charity account to make the donation. I have a spreadsheet where I keep track of the name of the organization, how much we donated (it's an equal amount each month) and what needs the organization addresses. That way I can keep a balance between local organizations and national or internationals, and a balance of which of the many important needs of the world that are being addressed.

I'm glad that we came up with this system as it seems like a smarter way to be generous and actually contribute in the best ways we can.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

This weekend Chris and Unity visited the math store and got a new book. They decided together that the math homework she gets from school wasn't quite enough and they wanted to do more together. They found a workbook that has problems similar to the ones she's doing in school and they've been working on it every day. She is excited about it, it helps that it's a special thing she can do with Dad and he can share how fun it is for him. 

We got one of our seed orders in and daydreaming about Spring can officially begin. 

And Brixton was working on his music of course. His drum teacher uses an approach where each rhythm has the name of a different animal. Brixton will sing/chant the animal names and try to write his own rhythms. Again, he is really excited about this. 

I know it sounds like we are trying to run a Lil Genius factory over here but it's fun to watch them exploring their passions and getting totally sucked in to their practice/play. 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

family movie night

My kids have a pretty low tolerance for movies. We've tried to have family movie night a few times but they get scared very easily, sometimes over the smallest bits of dramatic tension, so we haven't been very successful. 

That's starting to change. Some of it is just due to getting older and a bit wiser, and some maybe is our movie choices. It's hard to tell. But the first movie that really worked for all of us was the Muppets take Manhattan. Once they realized how fun that movie was, they wanted to watch it over and over. Finally! We had a movie that didn't drive the adults nuts ( Hi Dora) and that didn't terrify the kids. 

I'm glad to say we've found another movie that meets all our needs; The Sword and the Stone. It's a Disney release from the 1960s, based on the novel by T.H. White. We watched it over the course of a few days, in twenty or thirty minute increments. There were times when the kids were huddled under the blanket and we had to persuade them to come out, but there were some slapstick scenes that had them grabbing each others hands and shrieking in delight. 

So I guess family movie night may become something we can actually enjoy together, as long as we find those elusive movies with just the right amounts of funny-not-too-scary-interesting. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Monday, January 20, 2014

here we are now

Thursday, January 16, 2014

This old house- walls

            Our basement bathroom project is coming along. We now have walls!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Yarn along- the interestings and a hat

It's been a while since I did a Yarn Along. I did knit a hat over Christmas but it went pretty quickly. In fact, I'm making another one from the same pattern, which is hats for all from Taproot magazine. The last one had the bizarre ability to fit all four of us, so we'll see what this one does.

I finished the Interestings and I loved it. It's the story of a group of friends who meet at a summer camp for the arts in the 1970s and it follows them through success, jealousy, children, secrets, and coming to terms with who they really are. I have read Meg Wolitzer before and liked it mostly but this one is way better.

Linking up with Yarn along here.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

   ah weekends. Time for us to just hang out together doing projects and listening to music. Chris and Unity made nutburgers from this fantastic cookbook. They also started a sewing project. Unity's been saying she wants to learn how to make a quilt so they found some odds and ends of fabric and started a shoo fly pattern.

And Brixton? Well any stretch of time that is free turns into the one man band show. I'm telling you, this is the show to see.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

the post-Christmas slump

Man, it's a tough transition. The end of winter break when all that's left is decorations to put away and a pile of thank you notes to write. When alarms ring again in the morning and schedules resume. 

In winter, we have lots of dance parties. We make art and turn on all the lights. We welcome all the small achievements that a day can bring. Even, especially, the tiny ones. We get stacks of new books from the library, we invite friends over to play. Somehow the same old toys seem better with a dear companion to help enjoy them. 

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Before and during

Warning: extremely photo heavy post. 

Old houses are charming in many ways. I love our wood floors on the main floor of our house, and all the little details that would just never happen with contemporary design. I like thinking of all the times and people this house has seen. 


You knew there was a but, right? Old houses are hard. Our house is over a hundred years old. Sometimes that means that there isn't the closet space for our contemporary cluttered lifestyle. Pretty much always it means that whenever we do a project in the house, we will discover something new about the internal parts of the house, and hopefully it won't be too terrible and hard to fix. 

We're embarking on a project to remodel our downstairs bathroom. It's a strange little half-bath, with only a toilet and a shower, and mostly no one uses it. This means our family of four shares the one full bathroom upstairs, which is fine for now but I can see causing problems down the road once the kids are older. 

So, here are some before shots of the bathroom in the basement. It's so tiny and narrow it's actually kind of difficult to get a picture of it, but I did my best. 

And here are some shots after the first day of construction.

Getting ready to pour new concrete. 

This is where my washing machine used to be, and will be again.