April 22, 2009

Busy month

Eeeekk, I feel defeated by this birthday month. I did my best trying to keep up with birth-day posts, and believe it or not, they are all typed up and just need some editing, saved in drafts and waiting to be posted...

Until it happens, I won't use that as an excuse not to post anything else. The time line is already messed up anyway, right?

Last week Maya celebrated her birthday and I followed my impulse and made her a last-minute t-shirt that she requested in her last minute wish list. Here it is (the wishlist):

birthday wish list

Puzzled? I'll decode:

Kindergarten Book
P (she never told me, just said "let's skip that for now")
Art Book
Short Sleeve Shirt
New Crayon Set
Velvet Art Work
Card (she revealed to grandma that she wants a DEBIT card)
Decorations for Christmas

I know she requested a short sleeved shirt, but it was a week ago, when we still had 50s outside with rain and snow. Since I was using old t-shirts to make her a new one, the sleeves were 'pre-made' and I decided to keep them 'as is' until it got warmer. The applique was the time killer, took longer than the shirt itself. I'm still glad I did it, because I had upcoming Earth Day in mind.

Her birthday shirt

birthday girl

April 14, 2009


I was giving a quick pitch for Aden & Anais blankets tonight and realized that pictured would be worth more than a thousand words so I decided to make a quick post to show just how awesome those swaddling wraps are (and also how cute Anya looked when she was a newborn and not crying :) The two toned ones were originally white and I dyed each of them in two colors diagonally.

Need I say more?

April 13, 2009

Taming the Serger (AKA, my serger saga)

I'd wanted a serger for a long time and last fall, about 6 months ago I saved some money and after spending hours on reading online reviews, Brother 1034D was on the way from Costco. It arrived threaded with tiny sample spools of thread, I had fun serging scraps of fabric while trying to get a hang of the machine and then... one of the threads ran out. That was it. I agonized over the prospect of re-threading the beast on my own, after all, the book said that all the threading had to be done in strict order, otherwise machine would explode into my face...

Now I realize that I was a bit over reacting and feel quite silly that I kept hiding from my serger all these months without even attempting to thread it. Well, 2 nights ago I sat down, skipped the instructional video and brochure and went straight to the diagram on the inside of my serger. That was the most clear and easy set of directions on how to thread my machine. Three minutes later I was chaining off.

One good lesson that I learned, at least with the model of serger that I have, is that all the precise instructions and reviews that mentioned threading were quite paralyzing for me. Thanks to them I always felt like I had to SUFFER through the first few attempts of threading and then it would get easier. I didn't even think that threading a serger could be EASY even if the set of paths and holes is quite different from the sewing machine. All these months I kept thinking that I didn't have time to sit down and watch instructional videos in order to start operating the beast. In reality, all I used in the last 2 days to do my work on the serger was the threading diagram and the skimpy looking manufacturers brochure. Oh, and the best part? You DON'T have to thread those 4 paths in their strict order (upper looper, lower looper, right needle, left needle). Once you see how those threads fall into their paths, you can easily re-thread just one specific path. Sweet!

We are friends now, my serger and I. I finished leggings for Anya last night (Ottobre, Spring 09), made with old t-shirts. I'm quickly getting hooked on this machine. And it may not seem to be worth mentioning, but I had a long time dream of chopping a few of onesies and turning them into shirts. Now it's done and I'm amazed by the simple genius of this 'project' and how well it suits our needs.

serger conquered, thanks to A's leggings

We often make mistake of leaving folded laundry on the couch overnight. Then Anya gets a hold of it in the morning and I can't deprive her of joy of playing with our nicely folded clothes.

April 7, 2009

Where is my baby?

Something has changed last week. I looked at Anya one day and saw a toddler in her. The expressions, the meaning she puts into them, they are not baby grimaces any more. How could it happen so fast? She is not even 1 yet, technically she isn't for a little less than 24 hours. Yet, both Mark and I notice how every day she's losing more and more of her baby-ness, turning into a little toddler...

And now this. Walking... Unlike her older siblings, who waited until 15.5 and 14.5 months until suddenly and unexpectedly walking all over the place one day, Anya is taking a different approach, proving that she's her own little person, no matter how much we try to figure out who she's acting and looking most like. She's taking tiny little steps, sometimes it's just 2 or 3, other times it's 10. But she's doing it, giggling and squealing of joy, as if to show us that her toddlerhood is inevitable yet fun. We get it, we really do, even if we will always secretly miss baby Anya.

Tomorrow is her birthday, and there will be a special post dedicated to that, complete with birth story and video. I still don't want to wait a whole another day before posting a photo of cuddly little gift I made for Anya last night, while my headache wasn't letting me sleep at 3 a.m.

A's birthday present

not perfect, but done

I know this is far from perfect, but what matters is that it's DONE 1 day before her birthday. What a miracle, since I'm always late with handmade presents :)

April 6, 2009

happy quiet Sunday

Celebrating April

For some reason Sundays are rarely peaceful here, probably because we so want them to be. This Sunday was different, relaxing, lazy, even productive. Quick delicious lunch, afternoon sewing, then bright cheerful colors in the living room. Laundry folded, evening walk, kids in bed *on time*. Can it get any better? Only if it happens more often.

lazy sunday lunch

Eggplant curry (adapted and, yes, improved from this month's Real Simple)

1 medium onion chopped
olive or coconut oil
1 eggplant, cubed
1 T curry powder
1 T ground coriander
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 can chickpeas
4 medium tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
salt/pepper to taste
1/2 c water

Sautee onion for a few minutes, add eggplant and spices, more oil if needed. Cook for 7-10 minutes, stirring often. Add chopped tomatoes, drained chickpeas, tomato sauce and water if needed. Cook for 3-5 more minutes. Serve over rice, buckwheat, or quinoa.

new friend

April 5, 2009

Three years of Elijah

We have a 3 year old in our house. AGAIN. From my experience with Maya, I learned that 3 was even harder than 2, actually way harder than any other age we've experienced so far, I think. We'll see if Elijah will prove this wrong. But for now, I'll try to soak up the memories from this age, because he will never be this little again. Just bigger, an bigger, and then older...

Elijah turned 3. Three years seems like an awful lot of time when you think of it in terms of a child, going from a helpless newborn to an exploratory-destructive with much cuteness and charm mixed in toddler. And yet, it's hard to believe that those 3 years have gone by already, in a blink of an eye. Yes, time is a very relative thing.

I can't help but think of the day when Elijah was born. Familiar waking at 3 a.m. knowing that I am in labor, just like that. Our packing of 'the last few things' took about 2 hours, after all I was in labor, resting on the yoga ball during surges (contractions) and listening to my Hypnobirthing relaxation scripts. And no, I could not leave the packing to Mark, I was in charge then, knowing exactly what I needed to do and to have on the day I was going to give birth.

Hospital check-up at around 5 a.m. and 8.5 cm. I still remember my relief, no 15 hour labor this time. Not really surprised though, I was at 6.5 cm 2 days before. I hear Claire, my doula, is here, talking to the nurses. Her voice alone send endorphins throughout my body. Required antibiotics, hooked up to IV for 20 minutes. Mark and Claire are by my side, while I'm sitting on the yoga ball, waiting to get disconnected and immersed in the tub of warm water. I now vaguely remember tiny red lamp blinking and beeping in the dark L&D room, Claire later told me it was for the baby's bassinet/warmer, but I didn't notice it. Hypnobirthing was changing my life then.

Warm water feels like heaven on your laboring body. I don't get to stay there for too long, the baby is coming, my breathing is changing, my body is working harder, and Claire can hear that the baby is ready to be born.

Back on the hospital bed, a few nurses appear from nowhere. Midwife is ready, Mark is by my side, Claire is taking photos. I feel in charge of my birthing by letting go of any desire to control the process. It feels right, it works. No pain, no fear, no fighting, just an unstoppable power and lots of hard work. No 3 hours of pushing this time either. Just breathing and feeling my body doing all the work. I need fewer hands on me, but oh well... He is already here, beautiful hair, beautiful voice. And then beautiful eyes, opened. Love at the first sight. No turning back, he is in my heart forever...

miss that lanugo

birthday boy

It's amazing how much detail I can still remember from that day. The emotions, the thoughts going through my head, the smell and the noises of newborn Elijah. I remember looking at him and wondering what he was going to look like in 6 months, 1 year, 3 years... Three years? Are you serious? How can it even be possible that this tiny wiggly newborn will turn into a walking and talking toddler? Yes, I was wondering back then...

Those 3 years have been as unpredictable, exciting and challenging as they could be. I prayed my way through Elijah's reflux, constant inconsolable screaming, hating car rides (among many other things he disliked), my PPD, Maya's jealousy once he turned into a happy baby in the 7th month of his life. And don't forget spit-up, oh there was endless spit-up for the first 14 months of his life. So much that we had to lose some of our down payment on extra carpet cleaning when we were moving out of our apartment, and then the brand new dark hardwood floors in our rented house never looked clean again for the first year or so.

No, really where did the time go? It seems like just a few months ago I was wondering if Maya and Elijah would ever play together. Now they do, every day. Yes, they fight and pick on each other every day as well, but still, they play together, pretend together, read books together. And now he is getting more and more interested in playing with Anya, making her laugh (despite Maya's protests, because SHE is the big sister), giving her snacks. He is really turning into a BIG brother, not just 'big brother' who had no choice but to accept the title.

And he is full of love, always. He may be at the age where he disapproves of everything with very loud high-pitched screaming and long endless
nooooooo!'s, but he always finds plenty of love to give. I whisper to him "I love you, boy" and he looks at me and whispers back "I wov you, mama". He must remember that day when he was born...

April 3, 2009

Winter header be gone!

I thought it would be appropriate to finally switch the header and background color on Elijah's birthday, while it's still spring. And yes, I'm trying to make a post dedicated to our newest 3 year old. Meanwhile, enjoy Mark's musings here.