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Archive for the ‘Baby’ Category

Chasing Robins

Winter has been a season of reflection for us this year. With a birthday coming up soon, I have found myself thinking alot about the things that I do well as a parent, and things that I could improve on…and boy is there lots of room for improvement! One of the goals on my list this year is to be more present with my child. When you work from home, it is really easy to let everthing else get in the way between you and you children. When you wake up, you have dishes to do and breakfast to make. Pretty soon its naptime. By the end of naptime, dinner needs to get started and a few more emails need to go out. As I m laying down with him to sleep, sometimes the entire day went by without us playing even once! Each day I try and set aside as much time as I can to get my hands dirty, throw rocks, hunt for worms, and do whatever else a two year old would like me to. Since this past week in Seattle was absolutely beautiful, Liam and I have been spending our afternoons in the Arboretum literally chasing robins.

:: A peaceful park bench ::

:: a new beginning::

:: a very confused Robin::

:: a happy boy::

And yes – a little crafting during naptimes! After all – that two year old birthday is fast approaching. What better to make him feel like king for a day then his own crown! In case you’re wondering, the tutorial for this comes from my new favorite blog, Frontier Dreams.

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One of my favorite things about reading blogs is finding out about so many great books and resources that are out there. I came across a book this week that is truly fabulous. It is a book full of folktales “for strong boys”. Every so often, finding a book makes me feel like I found a new best friend. I read it and instantly know that it will become a part of my life forever. The introduction to this book was so warm and inviting that I feel it must be shared. The author is a woman by the name of Jane Yolen. She has written more than 200 books for children and adults and have received some of the highest awards in children’s literature. She divides her time between Massachusetts and Scotland.

An Open Letter to My Sons and Grandson:

This book is for you. It is for you because this book did not exist when I was growing up. This book is for you because for the longest time boys didn’t know that being a hero was more than whomping and stomping the bad guy. They didn’t understand that brains trump brawn almost every time that being smart makes the  battle shorter, the kingdom nearer, the victory brighter, and the triumph greater.

This book is for you because “hero” is a word for winner, not whipper; for smarty, not smarty pants; for holding on, not holding back. “Hero” is about being clever, learning from your mistakes, being kind and compassionate, and finding good friends. Picking up a sword doesn’t make you a hero — sticking to your word does. ………

….. This book is for you because the stories have always been there, not only in folk traditions but in history as well, if you know where to look.

Think of heroes like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., who taught us that one can win simply by refusing to bow down to power. Gandhi helped free India from British rule by showing the British that he would fight by resisting passively. ……Think of heros like Charles Darwin, who changed the way we think about the world simply through the power of his mind. As did Sir Issac Newton and Albert Einstein, who made greater differences in the world than Attila or Napoleon or Hitler…..

This book is for you not because I think one should never have to fight, but because I think the true heroes are the ones who solve their problems – and the problems of the world – without ever having to resort to force. The tongue is mightier than the sword. As is the pen.

This book is for you because I want you to be that type of hero.

While I left out a few paragraphs about silent heros, I imagine you get the point. This book has recently become a part of my life and I hope, over time,  it will become a part of Liam’s as well.

* If you happen to be the mother of a little girl, she writes a similar collection for them; it is called “Not One Damsel in Distress” – how lovely!

 

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Animal Farm

A few weeks ago, Liam and I took a short trip up to Everett, WA to spend some much-needed time with friends. While we were there, my friend G introduced us to this vast toddler mecca that is Forest Park. Not only is there a 16-sprinkler water park for the kids to play in, the park also hosts a donation-only animal farm, a swim center, four-five playsets, and sports facilities! I think there is even more to do there, but that is what I was able to gather in the two hours that I spent there. What an amazing resource for the city of Everett! The best part about it was how happy it made Liam to be there. I have never seen him have so much fun in one location. A must-do for any mama in the Seattle area.

These goats were at the door ready to greet us when we arrived.DSC_0620

I think these two were Liam’s favorite. Watching him get the chance to play with such friendly little animals gave me somwhat of a glimpse into the future for a time that we may have a few of these little guys running around…..goats that is.  DSC_0623

 

The farm included rabbits, goats, sheep, ponies, horses, geese, ducks, pigs, chickens, and one baby calf. I have never seen anything cuter in my life.DSC_0636

After spending a good amount of time with the animals, we ventured over to the waterpark across the parking lot. The expressions on his face say it all. DSC_0650

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I can still hear him laughing…DSC_0664

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There’s something so tranquil about large bodies of water. I am not sure if it is the thought of them extending on for miles, wondering what is on the other side, or the simplicity of the sound. Its mystique drew me to the writings of  Thoreau, Emerson, and other Transcendentilists.  On really nice days, or days that we need some serenity, I take Liam and Dylan there and the three of us just relax. There’s no place quite like Seattle in the summer. 

On our way…..

On Our Way

gotta hold his hand….Hold My Hand

we finally arrive…at the pond

These toes were just too cute not to captureDSC_0054

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Discovering Sock Dolls

I recently embarked on a journey into the world of sock dolls. Every time we were out and near dolls, it seemed that Liam was drawn to them. He enjoyed pointing out where the mouth was, the ears, the nose, etc. He even took it upon himself to give them little kisses. I knew right away that I had to learn how to make him one. I checked out some Wald0rf-inspired doll making books from the library and it seemed like the easiest one to make was a sock doll. I think if down the road, I ever have a girl, I would love to make her one of those beautiful traditional Waldorf dolls, but I thought this one would be just fine for Liam.

I think it is really important for ALL children to have at least one doll. I think many people in our society worry needlessly that letting your little boy play with a doll will “feminize” him in some way. It’s almost like they forget that little boys become daddies just as frequently as little girls become mommies. It is sad that somewhere along the way, teaching your son to be nurturing became taboo. With that said, lets take a look at Liam’s little man.

From this….Sock Doll Start

To this…. P6282001

 

 I still haven’t figured out what I want to do with his head. Hmm.. I made him a beanie hat, but when I put it on, I am not sure that I like how it looks. I am thinking of adding some hair, but right now, my craft closet is void of yellow yarn. Oh well, most babies dont have much hair anyways 🙂

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Summer Craftin’

My recent obsession is crafts. Although it has been something that I’ve taken up a serious interest in since giving birth to Liam (and discovering Etsy), I’ve really only dabbled in a few projects here and there. Over the past few months, however, I have been doing a lot of research into Waldorf education and “unschooling“. Natural crafts (felting, knitting,  wood crafts, projects made from nature) are an integral part of the Waldorf program. In fact, it seems that one of the basic methodologies is that learning actually comes through artistic expression. Since I plan on homeschooling Liam at least for the first few years, I feel that by the time he starts school, I would like to have some tricks up my sleeve when it comes to crafting. Plus, its super fun and rewarding! The past couple months I have been fooling around with some things and here are some of my creations.

 Waldorf Window Star

I heart stars. I just love them. So when I saw these window stars in The Children’s YearI , I just had to make some for Liam’s windows. I made this window star out of tissue paper. It was pretty easy. However, I originally put them a lot lower on the window. When Liam got a little taller, he was easily able to rip them off and so I had to throw away a bunch of stars. I quickly realized that a sturdier paper would make the star a lot easier to move around and put away at the end of the season. A few weeks ago, I found some awesome kite paper at A Child’s Dream. In the future, I will be using that paper instead of the tissue paper.

Wooden Branch Blocks

Why spend a ton of money on wooden blocks when you can make them in your own backyard? In Creative Play for Your Baby. I learned how easy it is to make these. (It would have been a lot easier had I not started this project on a 90 degree day!) I borrowed some tools from my neighbor, cut down a good sized cherry tree branch from my backyard, and used a pruning saw to cut out small blocks. What you see above is a work in progress. I still have to cut a few more, sand the edges, and apply some linseed oil for a nice finishing touch. When I am all done, Liam will have some awesome new blocks!

Felt Alphabet Letters

These letters were inspired by MiChiMa on Etsy. I happened to be surfing around on Etsy one day, and I stumbled upon this awesome idea! I wanted to purchase them, but couldn’t justify spending $50 on magnets, so I decided to make them myself! It only took me about 2 weeks to complete the project, but when you factor in working and mothering, it really wasn’t that long at all. I will say that a few of the first letters I did are a little sad looking and will be replaced, but overall I am happy with them.

Garter Stitch Washcloth

After I knitted this, I realized that I really didn’t know how to purl. I was totally entering in the knitting needle from the front, not the back. While I thought I was knitting a stockinette stitch, it turned out to be a garter. Oh well! This garter stitch washcloth was made for a very thoughtful friend. I also made her some of my homemade almond-oatmeal face scrub to go along with it. I hope she enjoys them. Since I have just learned how to shape my knitting, I will be experimenting with all kinds of farm animals for Liam this summer. My husband also put in a request for a hat so I will start working on that one too. 

I have had so much fun doing all of this that I now have a long list of crafts on my to-do list. Here are some of the things I will be working on this summer:

1) Sock Doll 

2) Felt Finger Puppets

3) Felt Bean Bags w/ letters

4) Needle Felted Farm Animals

5) Knitted Animals

I will be sure to put up some pictures of these as I complete them.

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Summer solstice is here and I couldn’t be happier. Those baby ducklings are getting bigger, clover is in full bloom, and days to spend in the park seem endless. While I will surely miss the lovely spring we had here in Seattle, I am looking forward to many sunny days at Greenlake and refreshing ICED beverages like the rhubarb soda my friend M brought over a few weeks ago. The summer will also give me numerous opportunities to play with my new Nikon D2oo. Hope you enjoy the pictures.  

Liam

And aren’t those purple bottlebrush flowers just beautiful? Liam thinks so!

Purple Flowers

Although they are getting bigger, those ducklings are still clinging to their mama! Ducklings

Taking a break under the redwoods as we look for some goodies for L’s nature box.

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And boy does he love playing outstide with him mama.DSC_1146

 And after a long afternoon in the park, this is the face that sends us home and in the tub. Ahhh, a solstice well spent 🙂 DSC_1186

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