And they all settled down for a long winter's nap...

Image found here via pinterest

I am saying so long, for now, in order to prepare and rest for the birth of baby number 2.

Seems winter is exactly the right time to stay inside, bundle up, watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer 3 times in a row with a certain little man and simply be present to this special time as a family of three.

May this holiday season be full of time with family, magical moments and space for reflection.

See you in the Spring.




Holiday sale in my Etsy shop!

I had a great time over the weekend at the local Waldorf School Winter Faires! I had never been a vendor before so although it was a lot of work, it was really interesting to be on that side of the table. The doorway puppet theaters were a hit, as were the toy sacks!

As a special holiday treat, I've reduced the prices of the remaining pieces as I won't be making any more until after the baby comes. So if you are still looking for a unique gift for the 5-8 year old category, go take a look at repurposed playground on Etsy!

"Vintage Maud" - Browns, oranges and cream

"Gretel" - Pink, pink, pink

"Caramel Candy" - Browns, oranges, pink and white

"Emerald City" - Black, white and green


Check out Beehive Style for your holiday shopping!

As we embark on the buying frenzy of the holidays, I always try to stay local, buy hand-made and support independent artisans and craftspeople, which is why I was thrilled when my friend Leigh of the blog Found, Now Home, asked if I wanted to do an inspiration board for the wonderful site BeehiveStyle.

Of course I said yes!

Inspired by the wonderful things for baby (and kids) that they have on their site, I created the above inspiration board with my favorite nursery image of all time. It of course has nothing to do with the fact that I have baby on the brain in these last few weeks of pregnancy!

Along with the inspiration board, I was able to select my favorite products on the website! You can see my board and my favorites here.

Don't miss the rest of the boards as well - they are sure to help with any gifts you are still needing to buy.


The first bag on December 1

On Monday night, at the first official craft night at our new house, I wrapped 24 little things and put them in 24 little bags. The result, a bag of goodies that I had to hide until last night...

Lat year I got away with actually "regifting" some of the nugget's toys - a few trains, a few cars and then a few new things thrown in. But I knew that this year I would have to up the stakes. With a careful selection of toys and sweets, I think I pulled it off enough to please a 2.5 year old.

As for the reaction this morning, first it was a wow at discovering it, then a whah when he only got to open one and then a wee when he realized the toy airplane could make it across the whole breakfast table on its own.

As for each hand-painted sack, well he has his Oma in Germany to thank for those. She sent it last year and though the nugget still doesn't know how special this is, I do.


The first of Advent

Today was the first of Advent. It is celebrated less here in America so I was oh so happy that a Skype call with my parents-in-law in Germany on Saturday reminded me that it was time to pull out last years Christmas craft.

Last year, I was inspired by this driftwood centerpiece. Actually I was inspired by an Adventskranz (Advent wreath) of the same idea that is no longer available but this one gives you the idea. But instead of ordering it, I decided to make it myself.

You see, I cleverly figured out how not to stress the week before Christmas last year. You take your parents-in-law who are visiting from Germany, plus a toddler, plus a husband and you drive a few hours up the California coast and you get cozy with a fireplace and a hot tub and walks on the beach and very little cell phone reception. Okay, there was cell reception and an unexpected trip to the ER but there was no rushing around or last minute midnight trips to Target or frantic attempts at gift wrapping. Just time and hot chocolate, and an attempt at making peppermint bark. Plus, an inspired idea for a craft project.

Aware of the abundance of drift wood on Northern California beaches but unaware that it was illegal to gather and collect it until afterwards, I was determined to gather the loot I needed to complete the wreath for the next year.

Back at home, when presents were all unwrapped and toys were being played with, I had time to set up shop. When I realized that even the hardiest of hot glue would not do the trick, I deployed my secret weapon: meticulous husband with drill. And so the day after Christmas, we crafted and crafted some more. And it was done. And I was happy.

I would need to find candles and a way to attach them but I had a year. Plenty of time.
Or so I thought.

I am still on the lookout for the metal rims I need to permanently attach the 4 white pillar candles I had intended for this wreath, but with only the Saturday night before the first of Advent at my disposal, I had to make do.

And really, on Sunday morning, over breakfast, one little toddler singing "O Tannebaum" hardly new that the wreath wasn't perfect.


A new kind of Friday night...

No crowded bars or cocktails in sight! Just some salt, flour, cream of tartar and green food coloring.

And what do you get - one happy toddler, one smiling mom as she got to sit and just watch the whole thing unfold and one dad who has just learned how easy it is to make DIY playdough!

Recipe from Amazing Moms

3 cups flour
1 1/2 cups salt
3 cups water
1 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cream of tartar
a few drops of food coloring

1. Mix ALL of the ingredients in a large saucepan.

2. Cook over medium low heat, stirring intermittently, until the dough comes away from the edges of the pan and becomes thick so it is difficult to move the spoon. Remove from heat.

3. Let play-dough cool in the pan until it can be handled.

4. Turn play-dough out on counter or on wax paper and knead 3 - 4 times.

5. Play! Store in an air tight container.


"All aboard"

I wasn't sure if the little man would play along, but let's just say he took his Halloween costume very seriously!

A few "choo choos" and "All aboards" and he even got the little green dragon he is walking behind to say "That is an awesome costume!"

A moving box, some black spray paint, some kleenex and a few circle cards from Papersource later - and I had a real locomotive.

His serious gaze is for the ghoulish cemetery someone had constructed in their front yard, with creepy black mechanized mummy, smoke machine and eery music. So much to take in and process, including the part about "My mom just keeps telling me to go to the next house and they give me candy and she let's me!" It took about 5 houses for him to figure it out and then, well, you'd think he'd been doing it for years.


Shipping box or airplane?

There have been quite a lot of moving boxes in our life in the last few weeks! I think the last batch is waiting in the garage for recycling pick up. Because I love a good repurposing project, I thought I would share the darling creations one of my friends and co-owner of Hello! Lucky came up with for her twins 1st birthday!

It inspired me to make a the nugget's Halloween costume this year using one of our moving boxes, so stay tuned for this weekend to see what I come up with!

For more fun photos and clever cardboard party ideas from this darling party, click here!


Parenting mantra for today, and maybe everyday...

    {found via pinterest via here}

I needed to read this yesterday and I then I did something about it today. And perhaps I need to put this somewhere visible to so that I keep it in mind tomorrow, and the day after and the day after.

Today he said words I had never heard him say. Today he explained complex emotions I didn't know he could. Today he listened and heard and cried and laughed and snuggled and probably internalized something I did that I will never know.

In the midst of all that is distracting me and all that will distract me in the future, may I keep this close by.


A bit of DIY inspiration...

I will admit - I am a craft and DIY snob. Please tell me you know what I mean by that. 

Anyway, some things just look too hand-made and too crafted with poor quality craft supplies and just add to the amount of stuff and waste that we already have. I much prefer when materials can be re-used instead, but you probably already know that.

Somehow I ended up with a subscription to DIY Magazine and I thought these 2 ideas for re-purposing a few old things you might have around the house were pretty clever.

Old plate or platter + chalkboard paint = Clever holiday menu

Old suitcase + spray paint + some wheels = Easy storage (for under the bed for example)


A lesson in de-cluttering

image via here

"When an item is in dispute (meaning I want to sell, toss, or recycle it and the kids need to keep it), we take a photo and stick the photo in a book, where they get to write a small eulogy about it. Then it goes out.

You’d be amazed how this small project has taught them to view what is special and what is not."

I can still get away with getting rid of things at this point but I imagine that very shortly I won't be able to just make things disappear. I thought this was a clever suggestion.

Do you have any rituals or tricks for teaching children how to part with the things the accumulate?


Don't need to say much more.

Found on pinterest via the wonderful Emily Paben


Favorite stuff for baby & kids

DailyCandy came out with their Kid's Gear We Can't Live Without and though my list of stuff that I can't live without is really quite small, I can appreciate products that are/were extremely practical, extremely durable and well used.

Of their list of 80 things, I will agree that my favorites also include...

Sophie Le Giraffe
Aden + Anais Swaddle Blankets
Maclaren Volo Buggy (this is a new favorite of mine)
Ikea Bekvam Step Stool
Kate Quinn Hooded Towels
ErgoBaby Carrier
Crane Cool Animal Humidifier
Phil and Ted's Me Too Chair
Twilight Turtle
Baby Jogger Citi Mini Stroller (best stroller by far)
California Baby Shampoo
SwaddleMe Wrap
Halo SleepSack Swaddle

and some things that I might want to try...

Stockmar Beeswax Crayons
Sprig Toys Eco Dumptruck (made of recycled wood and reclaimed plastic)
Dexton Great Plains Teepee
MD Moms Sunscreen Towelettes
Sarah's Silks Play Silks
Child-Tot Toddler Seat
Badger Basket Convertible Sandbox
Lutron Lamp Dimmer

How about you?

See any of your favorites on this list or want to add a product you can't live without?


Where the Watermelons Grow

Do you know it? Do you have the tune in your head?

If you ever went to summer camp, you must...

School has started and summer camp is so over, but we're getting our Indian Summer here in Northern California so my brain in still on white peaches, grilled corn, days at the pool and campfires while everyone else is onto Halloween, pumpkins, corduroy and tweed!

Regardless, some one sent this T-shirt design through the camp alumni group on Facebook and it just made me smile.

Found via Facebook from an Camp Quien Sabe alumni at threadless.com


But I can still admire...

With all this boy stuff on the brain, I can still do a bit of virtual peeking at the marvelous world of little girl clothes.

Really, this dress by Honey Collection from Sweet William, found via Small Magazine is just divine.

Wouldn't you agree?


More little boys..

Don't miss their wonderful blog either!

You can see more of my favorite things from their store on my Pinterest board "kiddo play"


Little boys...

Yup, that is right. I said little boys.

Mom of two boys. Sounds pretty good, don't you think?

Image from the lovely Stephanie Rausser 'kids'
You can see more of her work at stephanie rausser  


Where babies come from...

There is a lot of talk about babies at our house these days. My dear friend Elizabeth sent me this and really, I think I could watch this over and over and over again.


Monday morning

Do you know the concept of A and C days?

A is for "arousing" and C is for "calming" and I am thinking that our little nugget made the choice for himself this morning.

Silently and without my help, he gathered all of the things out of his crib and purposefully migrated them over to this cozy corner and set up his own private book nook.

Only problem is, it didn't fit with my needs. There lies my conundrum.

The concept of A and C days comes from the work of Kim John Payne and Simplicity Parenting. The concept is simple: balance your child's life with activity and calm, noise and silence, stimulation and reflection. It can happen in any given day or any given week. Intuitively and in practice, this concept spoke to us immediately and it has been easy to incorporate in our family life.

So what of this morning's conundrum? The weekend was full of activity and play and family visits and late bedtimes. His obvious need for a "C" morning made a hell of a lot more sense than scooping him up and dropping him off at a busy playday at daycare. But my "to-do" list turned time sensitive late last night and my grown up responsibilities stood in the way of giving in to a total C day. And yet, how could I ignore his obvious need and his even more impressive and obvious implementation?

I realized quickly that had a choice, I always do. Instead of rushing him and interrupting his process, I let him be. And then, I even joined him.

Yes, it made the day start 30 minutes later than I had planned, but really sometimes 30 minutes of calm is all you need.


Craving less

{found via pinterest}

We're home and I this just about sums up my state of mind.


Now boarding families with children...

Did you know that United stopped doing pre-boarding for families with children? Could this be. It can't be. I am going to hope that it is only for domestic travel. Really makes me wish we were flying with Lufthansa. For that reason and a few others.

Regardless, countdown, less than a week, before the little man and I set forth for Germany. 

He's done it, I've done it - so I shouldn't be too concerned. But somehow 12 hours on an airplane at 12 weeks pregnant with a 2.5 year old, well, I am sure you can understand my state of mind. With a bit of extra meditation and some proper planning, I am hoping to be ready for anything.

So, in my arsenal:

- Change of clothes for him
- Change of clothes for me
- Pajamas for him (to create the illusion of a bed-time ritual)
- Nowali moccasins for him (for during the flight)
- Diapers and enough wipes
- Pacifiers for sleep-time (We'll transition away from these after this summer trip!)
- One new toy
- One favorite toy
- A load of stickers
- Crayons and paper
- 2 favorite books
- A book for me
- Familiar cuddle blanket
- Peekaboo Farm and Peekaboo Wild on my iPhone
- 2 episodes of Thomas the Train and 2 episodes of Bob the Builder in my iTunes on my computer
- Toddler sized headphones
- Snacks, snacks, snacks

And all of this fits into my backpack and his tiny backpack (which can attach to mine), so my hands are free! Plus a new lighter than air Maclaren umbrella stroller and we're ready to go.

I think?

What did I forget?

What other tips + tricks do you have?


Thursday morning art work

I didn't plan this activity. I rarely do. But something about this morning's impromptu art session stood out to me. Maybe it was because he asked for it. Maybe it was because after a bad night's sleep I was too tired "to do" the dishes and instead sat down and watched his every move. Maybe it was because he purposefully and meticulously chose the colors he wanted to use and then very earnestly put the caps of the markers on the bottom of the pen, as he has presumably watched me do. Maybe it was because after I traced his hand the first time, he kept wanting more and more and more. Maybe it was because he said the names of the colors, not all of them, but enough to make me realize just how "not baby" he really is. 

Maybe it was because the end result was masterpieces of toddler boy art, like these...


Tiny work spaces

It's a marvelously sunny Sunday morning, about 5 minutes to 9, and the house is silent. No toddler noises, no husband noises. It's the indulgence that comes when a certain someone is with Oma for the weekend and I have nothing to do but sit on the couch and peruse my favorite blogs.

One of my favorite blogs for inspiration for kiddo spaces is the boo and the boy. Amidst the turmoil of her husband's illness, Julia has continued to find beauty and share beauty with her readers. She is honest and funny and clearly has a eye for really great design.

Recently she did a great post on desk spaces for little people. I wanted to snap up every image and plug into my Pinterest account but I figured I would just pick my favorites and then point you in her direction.

Though it was difficult to choose a favorite - if you check our her blog post you will probably agree with me - I picked the above image because it is integrated kiddo and adult space. And it has this modern rustic feel to it. And it's two little boys. And the rest of the images from Amsterdam based Insidehomepage are just as divine. Thanks Julia for introducing me to this wonderfully inspiring company!


Creating order

There is a fine line between order and compulsion. Motherhood has made me uncomfortably aware of how close I can get to the compulsion side of order in an attempt to feel like I am still in control.

And I am not in control. Ever. But I like to pretend that I am.

So I tried an experiment. In January, I started back to work part-time and realized instantly that I am not the do-it-all mother and wife that maybe I thought I would be and that the only way for me to stay a little bit on the this side of sane would be to embrace a bit of chaos. I let others pick up the way they pick up, I let a toddler help in any way he saw fit without steering his actions in anyway, I cleaned things up but with only little awareness that cars go with cars and trains go with trains and I let the living room stay scattered with toys. This for me, was treading in the world of chaos. Well, maybe it was just getting my big toe wet but I had to start somewhere.

And, it was okay. Not comfortable, not unbearable. Just okay.

And then the unexpected happened and the extreme nausea of the 1st trimester of pregnancy set in and everything fell farther into chaos. Dishes in the sink, toys all around, piles of laundry scattered on the dining room table. Until last week, when after 2 months with a live in au pair who had now returned home and 10 days of visitors and a weekend trip to watch the rodeo in Reno, there was suddenly this sense of calm that came over me. And then, an intense urge for order. So at 7:30 last Monday, while the nugget contently managed his car collection, I put trains with trains and books with books and tracks with tracks. I put a few things away in the closet to be pulled out on another day. I even put a few things away in the donation bag.

And just like that, life for me became a bit more digestible.

Part of growing up is accepting who we are on the one hand and being open to transformation and growth on the other. I like an orderly house, I like less stuff - and as long as I don't twist myself into a neurotic state to keep it that way or have unrealistic expectations for those with whom I share my home space (namely a husband and toddler at this point), then we should be able to co-habitate quite beautifully together and live harmoniously with the occasional mess.



Well yes, it's official...

Come January, we will be a family of 4!


Happy kiddo

The woman who totaled my bill at the Jiffy Lube yesterday told me that I have such a happy kiddo. And instead of brushing it off, I stopped everything, and just looked at him. She was right. He is happy.

The reason this woman's words caught my attention is because a month ago a friend of a friend said the exact same thing to me but with even more reverence. She said it almost as if she was so grateful to have been reminded that there are happy children in the world.

I am not sharing this to perpetuate the perfectness of my child. I am sharing it because a strangers words made me realize that I take this fundamentally important notion so totally for granted. And in taking it for granted realize that I make choices and decisions in the "name of raising a happy child" that have really nothing to do with what happiness is.

And that is something I want to bring to the forefront of my awareness.

The reason is this: I can get wrapped up in the gloom and doom and overwhelm of being an adult. And I can go there very quickly. And I can begin to second guess my choices and wonder about being a good enough mother and adequate wife. And I can judge my choices and my thoughts and my...the list goes on. And still amidst all of that, I can have this happy kiddo.

And that is something I need to remind myself of every day.


A multiples sale

I left my men at home this Saturday morning and joined a few other savvy shoppers at the annual sale of the Marin Parents of Multiples Club. Guess I wasn't the only one who wanted to get here when the doors opened...

I was impressed by the sheer volume and disciplined organization of it all. A hold area for big bulky items and everything sorted by size and category made the whole experience almost pleasant. There was a bit of pushing and "mindlessness" but as I had time and no real need for anything, I just sort of went with the flow.

$83.50 got me a firetruck, a multi-floor car garage and an overstuffed bag of 2T/3T clothes. Not bad for a Saturday morning shopping trip.