A few more photos from Coronado. This was lunch on our last day. We were all tired and hungry and hot.
Summer To Do List, 2015
June is here. School’s almost over. Summer’s coming. I’m not the biggest fan of summer, I admit. I thinking having a list of things to do this summer might make me enjoy it more. A lot of these are also on my 35 Until 35 list, so that’s good.
Pick a summer theme song. Right now I’m thinking of something by Jenny Lewis or Rilo Kiley. We just saw Jenny last week, so I’m on a Jenny/Rilo kick. Or I might throw back to some of my favorite summers, and go with a Dave Matthews song. DMB songs always make me think of summer.I decided on Budapest because it’s fun, it’s on the radio a lot, and Peter just did a cool version.
- Take, and post to Instagram, a photo every day, starting June 21st and ending September 22nd – the first and last days of summer. Recently I’ve gotten into sharing my day to day stuff on Snapchat, and haven’t been posting as much on Instagram. I think I’ll look back and wish I’d taken more permanent documentation of these days. This summer, I will post (at least) one photo a day and I’ll use the hashtag #93summerdays if you want to play along!
- Run through the sprinklers. I tend to be an observer in this activity. I vow to participate this summer.
- Play outside everyday. This is a long-term goal to get my kids to play outside everyday, rain or shine or snow or fog or whatever. I think they’re getting to be old enough, and creative enough that I can start this. Best to start in the summer, I figure!
- Have a dinner of corn on the cob. When corn is in season, there’s nothing better.
- Go to a concert.
- Stargaze with Alma. Ideally, I want to take her out into the country or wilderness where stars are brighter. I think it would be fun to let her stay up late (or get her up) and take her out, just the two of us.
- KonMari Method everything. This will likely be an entire blog post, but I have read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and am in the process of getting rid of things that don’t spark joy. It’s already been incredible, I can’t wait to continue.
Go on a day date with Jesse. Hike. Camp. Ride bikes.
- Make lemonade from scratch.
- Watch fireworks. Big ones this year, I think.
Build a sandcastle. Make ice cream from scratch.We made a cherry dark chocolate ice cream. I liked it, Alma didn’t, Jesse was indifferent, Harriet likes anything.
Redecorate the living room– specifically the mantel. It still is covered in Easter decorations. Come on. Jesus has already ascended into Heaven and we’re fully in a new church season. Seriously, Carolyn. Go to the beach.This should be easy. We have another vacation to Coronado planned. Go to the mountains. Bake a crisp, or other summery dessert.Blueberry cobbler ftw. Swim in nature – ocean, river,lake, stream.
- Eat wild berries.
- Take each Harriet and Alma on an adventure, just us.
- Plan our tenth anniversary celebration. Ten years! What?
- Learn how to shop at thrift stores. They totally overwhelm me and I never buy anything. I love to idea of not wearing new clothes – better for earth, better for the workers who make clothes, cheaper – I just don’t know how to do it.
Go to the Country Fair.Photos here! Go to new parks.Maybe try for all the parks in Eugene? Is that crazy? Anyone want to attempt this with us?
- Shop at the farmer’s market as often as possible. Maybe make it a weekly activity.
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Buy some treats from the ice cream truck.
- Go to the library. Another weekly activity?
Swim in a pool.
- Tie dye something.
- Go berry picking. Anyone want to play along? What’s on your list this summer?
When Alma and Harriet were babies, they had portraits done. That’s the only time I can think of since our wedding that anyone in our family has had portraits done. For my birthday this year, my parents gave us a session with a wonderful photographer for family portraits.
Courtney Theim was amazing to work with. She was incredibly flexible as we waited for a break in the weather to head up to Hendrick’s park. We met her early one morning and she took some beautiful family portraits with magical light and the incredible backdrop that is the park in springtime.
Here are some of my favorites.
I’m not often in front of the camera, so I’m so happy to have these. I could write a whole blog post about body image and moms missing from family photos, but I’m sure you’ve all read it before. The main thing is that I don’t want to look back at my life and not see myself in the photos. I also don’t want my daughters to see me missing. My beautiful, silly girl, with those sweet freckles. Come on, seriously. Harriet is so lovely.I love Harriet’s closed eyes here. And our strawberry blond curls. Look at Harriet looking at Alma. So much love and admiration right there. Believe me that it is mutual. Courtney wanted to try this hand photo, and Harriet didn’t want to play along. I’m astonished that Courtney was able to catch the split second all our hands were stacked up. That’s talent, folks. Please contact Courtney if you need some photos done. She’s wonderfully professional, and was great with the kids. And the proof’s in the pudding. The photos are amazing.
This is such a tricky day. While I love my kids, and love the fact that there is a day to celebrate my mother(s) and be celebrated, it almost seems like a slap-in-the-face holiday.
I have friends who aren’t parents, who never want to be parents. I imagine this day is a strange one, where Facebook and Instagram become overrun with notes of thanks for the children that made them mamas, and celebrations of the husbands who spoil them for the mere fact of being a mother.
I have friends who aren’t parents, who want to be parents. I imagine this day is full of pain, seeing the yearly (and frankly, constant) reminder that they don’t have what they so dearly desire. The reminder that prayer and medicine isn’t enough. My heart breaks on this day for those friends.
While I want to be celebrated and appreciated for what I do as a mother (I really, really want to be celebrated, this shit is hard), I also want to get rid of this holiday that blatantly leaves out a certain population. That blatantly leaves out some of my dearest friends. Because, honestly, I know that it is much harder to want to be a mother, and not be able to.
When we were younger, we tried to have children for about a year, with no success. We decided to stop trying and decide if we’d be happy if it was just the two of us, or if we should look into other options for having kids. We decided that we would be happy, and that’s when we found out about Alma. I know that story sounds trite and motherhood-elitist, but it is our truth. The reason I write about it here, is to show that I can understand (at least a little bit) what it feels like to try and not succeed. I also know what it feels like to decide not to have kids, and picture a life as a non-mother.
I currently have friends who are finally pregnant (after ten years of trying and praying), and friends who are in the process of adopting. While not particularly close to these friends, I keep up with them on Facebook and Instagram. I feel like their journeys have been long. I feel like their journeys have been hard. I want them to know that I have been, and continue to be, with them through it all (as much as is possible in our internet age). I honestly and truly hold them in my heart, especially today.
I want them to know that I said a prayer for them today in church. And they are in my prayers often.
I want them to know that they should be celebrated. Celebrated as the mothers they want to be, and the people they are now – with or without children of their own.
I think it is great to celebrate motherhood. We wouldn’t be here without it.
I just want to take a moment to celebrate everyone else.
Today, and always, I love you.
New Dresses for the Girls
As part of my resolution to sew from my stash, I decided to make new dresses for the girls. I used Shwin and Shwin’s Holiday Dress pattern for the bodices, and made some amazingly twirly skirts using my own mind.
A day in San Francisco seemed like the perfect time for the girls to wear the dresses. They were perfect – short sleeved, colorful, twirly, and fun. They had the added bonus of making the girls super easy to spot in a crowd. I was able to use some of the more random fabrics that I didn’t have any ideas for – ahem scissors – and also some of my cherished favorites. Both dresses have the purple flowers and matyroshka dolls, but the rest are unique. I love Alma’s mashallahs and Hattie’s bee sleeves. Alma’s dress has two big sparkly blue bottons. Harriet’s dress has the one leftover sparkly button, and a cute pink bubbly button. I loved making these dresses. They were really quick to sew, and really fun to wear. I’m planning on making a couple like it for an upcoming silent auction at Alma’s school, and maybe a few for the Etsy shop.
Also, check back tomorrow for more photos of our time in San Francisco!
Raising STRONG Girls – One Little Word 2015
“You’re so cute!” “Aren’t you adorable?” “Look at your dress!” “Hi, princess!”
It’s constant. It’s true. My girls are cute, adorable, well-dressed princesses. It’s true. I do my best to make all of those things true. I’m okay with that.
I also do my best to make sure that my girls are smart, brave, funny, clever, curious, caring, and strong. I have told Alma that whenever anyone tells her she’s cute, she should say, “Thanks! I’m strong (or brave, or smart, or adventurous), too!”
I’ve taught her that princesses are brave. I’ll tell her, “Be brave, like a princess!” I know that people will call her a princess, I’m just trying to change what that means to her. (isn’t it odd that we call little girls princesses their whole childhoods, and it seems like a good thing, but then they grow up, and become women, and suddenly being called a princess isn’t a good thing, it means that she’s spoiled or self-centered, or high maintenance…?)
Think about the words that we use to describe little boys and girls. Girls get passive words like cute, sweet, silly, princess. Girls get complemented on their clothes, their hair, their appearance. Now boys. Boys get active words like fast, cool, strong, brave, funny, super-hero. Boys get complimented on their actions, their achievements. I do this, you do this. It’s just the way it is.
My nephew once told my mom that girls are cute, and boys are cool. I decided then, and there, that I would compliment his cute clothes next time I saw him. He was wearing swim shorts, and I said, “Cute shorts!” He looked so confused. He really had no idea what I mean, or how to take what I had said.
I want my girls to be girls, but to not have the feeling that being a girl is somehow less than being a boy. I want their words, their self-image, their opinions to be active, not passive. I want them to be strong.
So, that’s my word for 2015. I want them to be strong. I want to be strong.
I want to get in shape, physically. I will focus (ahhhh… focus) on that quite a bit this year. I want to be STRONG. I want to be active, flexible, strong.
But, I also want to have strength other places in my life. I want to have strong relationships – with Jesse, the girls, my friends, my family, God. I want to be strong in my choices, opinions, convictions. I want to be resilient, curious, strong.
I want to be a good role model for my girls. I want them to know that their mommy was a strong woman, inside and out. I want to show them how I can be a princess – a princess who is brave, strong, cute, and their mother.
A New Coat for Hattie
I took my first sewing class a few weeks ago at Piece By Piece. In the class we made baby coats, so I made a new coat for Hattie. I used a cute owl fabric for the main coat, a sweet mushroom fabric for the pockets, and a soft flannel polka dot fabric for the lining. We followed Olive Ann Designs’ Hoodie Baby pattern, but we didn’t really follow the directions. Our instructor, Celeste just told us, and showed us what to do. She was fantastic! I learned so much about sewing clothes from her. Now for some photo overload:
Another Pumpkin Patch
Alma’s New Quilt
Alma just made the transition from her ‘baby bed’ to her ‘big kid bed.’ We actually converted her crib into a twin bed and just had to buy a mattress. Jesse did a great job building the rails and platform for the bed. I love having such a handy husband!
I wanted this quilt to be special, so I actually bought, and (mostly) followed a pattern. All my other quilts have just been of my design and pretty simple. And quite small. This quilt is a whole twin sized quilt. Whoa.
I bought the Atkinson Designs Morning Noon & Night pattern and used the Scrappy Quilt pattern with more of the Sunrise Quilt color design. I wanted to transition from the aqua color to the coral-pink color. I bought the pattern and most of my fabric at my favorite fabric store, Piece by Piece.
As always, I had times where I would get nervous, but it all came together really beautifully, and quite easily.
I love to make the backs of my quilts fun and interesting, too. All these fabrics are fun to look at – fairies, goose rides, hiding kids. I love it.
This is by far my biggest sewing project, and totally one of my favorites!