Friday, March 13, 2009

camp skills

I was unpacking one of the myriad boxes marked, very specifically, "BOOKS" and found one I had forgotten and knew I had to share. This book belonged to my father as a child and was a favorite of mine when I was young. I used to look at the pages and think about making a "temporary refrigerator" by submerging a bucket in a stream with my jug of milk in it and building a lean-to with sticks and branches.

Check out that " Daddy's Chair" - fantastic. And the washbasin? That's my kind of camping.

I think this book might be what lead me to join the Girl Scouts. I understand that the troops activities vary greatly depending on the leaders' interests but I must say that I was sorely disappointed in the lack of "Scouting" in my troop. I think the most scout-ish activity was the one time we were allowed to have a turn opening and closing a pocket knife. Sheesh!

I sometimes wonder, in that nature-vs-nurture way, about some of these fascinations in childhood. Was I drawn to this book because of who I was, or am I who I am because this book was tucked into our bookshelves. It makes me curious to see who my children become as they mix their own selves with the community with which we have surrounded them. What might this book inspire in them?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Miryam took her first steps quite dramatically at 11 months or so. Andy and I both happened to be looking at her when she stepped once, twice and then sat down. For first time parents it was nice to be able to share the moment.

Éamonn has been shown his walking skills in a much more relaxed fashion. A shuffle here, a few steps there. He really gets a lot of practice pushing our kitchen chairs around the house. We have all wood floors and the chairs have felt on the bottom so they slide at the perfect speed.

More recently he has been taking Miryam's dolly Ruby Red for her morning stroll in the pram. He has learned to do corners by bumping in the the wall, wiggling the pram, bumping it again, etc. until he is in the right direction.

With the first child, it's so exciting to see them learn and grow. You just can't wait for the next milestone. With the second child I am a bit more whistful. Each new skill is an accomplishment and a celebration but it is also a reminder of all that has passed already, and how quickly. Still, I'm looking forward to the summer when I can marvel at his fat little feet walking through the grass.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

a bit of unpacking - the playroom

I find that unpacking really goes on the back burner when there are two little children underfoot. We very quickly took out everything that we needed and left everything else boxed up in the garage. Well a couple of weeks went by before we even ventured in there for more boxes to unload. Just keeping everyone fed and watered and in clean clothes was enough. Adding more to the melee was unthinkable. It came to be, however, that the three books and one doll we had out was not enough fun for the kids. As much as I sometimes dream, we could never handle it Little-House-In-The-Big-Woods-style. So we unpacked the kids stuff (mostly - there are still some stuffed animal boxes that I (um) just can't find...yeah) and here is what we have.

The way the rooms work out there are two tiny bedrooms and two normal-sized bedrooms. So we have my midwifery office in one tiny room and Miryam's room in the other. Right now there is just a twin in there but we'll set up the bunkbeds this summer for sleepovers and for the future when Éamonn is ready to move out of our bed. The normal-sized rooms became the "familybed room" for Andy, Éamonn and I and the "play room". In general, I'm not very into the "playroom" concept as it is usually represented. Too often it is a way to segregate children (and their things) from the rest of the family. The whole "keep the toys out of the livingroom" theory. I think it is important for children (and their things) to be valued parts of the family, rather than closeted away is a basement "rec room" or some such. I have the benefit of a big plastic aversion so the vast majority of my children's toys are things that I enjoy looking at and are comfortable sharing my space with. It's important to me that my children respect their belongings and take care of them. I would find it hard to instill that value if I felt their things should be-out-of-my-sight. What you do, you teach, and all that...

That being said, it didn't make sense to have one big child's room and one tiny one. Especially because Éamonn really doesn't need a room right now. And how am I supposed to decide which room get's the play kitchen? No thanks. This way most of the toys are family-toys, rather than owned by one child or the other. The playroom is for play and the bedroom, which only has a bed, some books and a dresser, is for sleeping. Perfect.

So in the picture above you can see the play kitchen, the table (whose chairs are currently part of a fort in the living room), the dollhouse, doll pram and some rocking chairs. When I get some more daylight I'll take some pictures of the dolly sleeping in the pram - she is a waldorf doll I made for Miryam's birthday last year. The wall to the left of the photo has the closet you'll see below and the hidden wall on the right has a small shelf of toys and some baskets with blocks and balls.

The closet has art supplies, games and puzzles, and things that are best for when the baby isn't around. We tuck the horse in when not in use because it takes up a bunch of floor space. The horse was a thrift store find in Vermont. It's handmade and lovely but I've been meaning to give it some new yarn hair for a while. It's starting look like it should be put out to pasture, if you know what I mean.

I bought the stained glass butterfly, that hangs in the window, in Eugene, OR on our first cross-country trip in 2000. It catches the light beautifully in the afternoons.

I am making some plans for the room to work on during the April school vacation including a new rug (that one came with the house - they staged it for the sale) and curtins, some wall paint and a shelf that runs the length of the wall that you see behind the rocking chairs. Also some fabric-covered homasote boards to hang artwork on and a peg rack for dress up. I'll update with photos when we start working on it. Consider this the before.

Monday, March 2, 2009

we have a winner!

According to the random number generator...

*** Tiny House***

is the winner! Congratulations. Please email me with your postal address and start watching your mailbox next week.

And a big hello and welcome to new folks who came by way of Sew, Mama, Sew - I hope you'll stick around.