Sunday, May 30, 2010

Just So Cute!

I have said this before, but I am sayin' it again...Isaac loves to smile. In fact, he loves to smile almost as much as we love to make him smile. This leads to us spending large portions of our day talking in goofy voices, cooing and just generally looking silly as we try to convince those smiles to spill over into squealing, laughing territory. My absolute favorite smiles are the ones he gives me while he is nursing, when he looks up at me and grins as milk spills out of the corners of his mouth. Oh, the cuteness!At the end of the day, when it is almost time for bed, and he gets plopped on the floor in the hallway while Noah takes his bath, Isaac is still up for a good smile session with Daddy. Even though most of my photos come out blurry (he is an animated and active smiler) I can't resist snapping photos of his drooly dimpled grin.

Really, is there anything more cute than a happy, chubby baby? I think not.

~Jen

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rascally Rabbit

Our garden got off to a bit of a slow start this year thanks to a furry little nighttime visitor that I will refer to here as the Rascally Rabbit (though it has been called much worse...believe me!). We tried unsuccessfully to live trap the Rascally Rabbit, but alas, nothing I could put in the trap was as appealing to said creature as the blossoms on my strawberry plants. After bringing me to tears the morning that I went out to find all the seedlings I had been growing for months and had just planted the previous day chewed down to the ground, we gave in and put up an inexpensive, ugly, but so far effective, fence around the raised garden beds to keep the critter out. It is amazing how much the Swiss Chard, strawberries, beans and lettuce have grown this week thanks to some sunshine, a little rain, and the absence of the above mentioned munching herbivore. Meanwhile, Noah is officially ready for summer after a trip to the store earlier this week for a new hat, SPF 55, sidewalk chalk, and Popsicles. Bring on the sun!
~Jen

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

WIP Wednesday

This week I took a break from my three (or four?) other projects to make something special for a friend and coworker's beautiful baby girl. Baby Wren made an early and rather eventful arrival a week and a half ago. Thankfully, she and her mama are doing well and she is growing fabulously. I had been waiting to get started on this project until I knew whether she was a girl or a boy. Yeah! A girl to knit for! I bought this yarn (Paton's Wool in Woodrose Heather) the week before Isaac's birth thinking that just maybe I would need to be knitting something in my favorite girly color, a nice dusty rose. However, Isaac says rose is not his color, so hopefully Wren will like it. The pattern is the Child's Placket Neck Sweater, from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts. I made this sweater once before in the days before Noah was born, so I knew it was an easy knit, though I plan on adding a little something extra to make it special. Since she is a summer baby (and it has been in the high 80's around here...in WI...in May!) I chose to make it a 1-2 year size so that it will hopefully get more wear. Thank you to Wren for giving me a chance to get some girly knitting done!

~Jen

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shell Phone

Amongst his playthings, Noah has a bowl of various types of seashells. He pretends they are musical instruments (and makes me play each one), food, cars, and boats. But usually, he pretends they are phones. Shell phones.

He often carries one around his pocket and throughout the day he periodically takes it out to have long, animated conversations with Grandma or Daddy. I love to listen to the inflection in his voice and watch the seriousness with which he talks.

Noah conducts some important business on his shell phone.

Oh, the imagination of a child!

~Jen

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Drumming Lesson

Around here, we think Isaac and his smiles are just about the cutest thing ever! It seems like all it takes is looking at him to get him to flash his amazingly cute dimples. However, whenever we grab the video camera, he becomes the most sober baby ever. Until today, that is. Curtis was giving Isaac a drumming lesson (with a little robot dancing thrown in) at the kitchen table after lunch and he thought it was great fun! I managed to get some of his performance on video. Here he is, making his video debut. You may need to scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the music player first...

video

Friday, May 14, 2010

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

(Noah covered Isaac with his doll blanket and laid down beside him to play 'sleepy')

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Knitted Farm Playmat: Part 1

It was back to work for me this week. (Gosh, those newborns look and feel so small after hefting around my chunk!) That means back to daycare for the boys. Even though they are only there for 3.5 hours, twice a week, it is really hard to leave them. Especially poor Isaac, who will not nap while there. Our kiddos are not the kind of kids that can nap in a bright room with music or talking or other children about. Nope, they require a dark room, white noise, and a tummy sleeping position (a big no-no, I know. But when your baby has reflux, you will do anything to help them sleep). Poor Isaac is an overstimulated mess by the time Curtis picks him up. But, I digress...

Due to working Tuesday and Wednesday, this is my belated 'Work in Progress' post. I have this habit of starting multiple, rather large projects at once. I like to have a few different things going so I can choose to work on whatever project I am in the mood for at that particular moment. I currently have the Tea Leaves Cardigan, socks, and a shawl in progress. Add to that my current project and I will be busy for a long, long time.

The first time I saw a knitted farmyard playmat, I knew I wanted to make one. For those of you who have never seen one, it is a mat or rug that has different fields and gardens laid out for children to play on with toy animals, tractors and such. I got the book, The Knitted Farmyard, but it just looked too overwhelming and actually involved very little knitting and lots of embroidery. Then I saw the knitted and felted version in Living Crafts magazine, but I didn't really care for how the separate 'blocks' were all square-ish. I wanted the more realistic look of the Knitted Farmyard version.

After some thought, I decided to go with the Knitted Farmyard version, but designed my own pattern. I thought if I was going to do this, I might as well do it on a large scale. I drew my pattern on 3' x 5' piece of paper, then laid a 3' x 5' rug canvas (from Joann's) over the top and traced my pattern onto the canvas with a black marker, leaving a 2 inch border all the way around for finishing. After gathering up all my green and brown wool, I got started with the embroidery using 3 strands of worsted yarn in tent stitch.
Oh my. This is going to take forever! BUT... I really, really, like how it looks so far. The fields are latch-hooked, another thing I have never done before.
This is not the difficult project I thought it would be. The only intimidating part is how long it is going to take. But it is actually nice, mindless stitching, and the various textures and colors keep it interesting. I told Curtis that he could work on it too, if he wanted. He declined.

Well, I will never finish anything if I use my precious baby napping time blogging. Maybe Isaac will sleep all day to make up for not sleeping the previous two days? Probably not...
~Jen

Monday, May 10, 2010

In the Garden

We follow a simple rhythm throughout our days and weeks. Recently, our rhythm has had to have a bit of extra flexibility due to having to incorporate Isaac's sometimes unpredictable baby needs. One thing that remains a cornerstone of our daily rhythm is getting outside everyday. Every morning, while Isaac takes his nap, Noah and I head outside, baby monitor in hand. Our first stop is the garden, where I check on all the seedlings and pull weeds while Noah rakes, mows, and drives his little car through the cilantro. Though it is still early in the season, there is a lot of life to explore and enjoy.
Herbs
Chives
Onions
Greek Oregano
If all the weeds are pulled (we spend so much time outside that I actually run out of weeds to pull!), seeds are planted, and everything is watered, I sit under the pergola or on the porch and do a little knitting while Noah plays. Occasionally, he will come sit by me for a few seconds before he is off again.

Hopefully, Isaac will soon get over his aversion to the stroller and/or baby carriers and we will all be able to take walks together in the morning. Until then, Noah and I enjoy our quiet time outside together. And our garden is very weed-free.

~Jen

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"What Song You Want?"

Our Quiet Family loves music. Throughout the day we sing, we play the piano, we dance (or spin), we listen to songs over the speaker system. We are a musical family. I have talked before about Noah's love for playing the piano, and he continues to develop his singing and piano playing skills. Every morning when I sit to nurse Isaac before his nap, Noah crawls up on the bench and asks, "What song you want?" This is really a question to himself, and he readily answers himself, too: "Rappi?" (Raffi). This could mean either Wheels on the Bus or Baby Beluga. "Winkle Winkle?" (Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star). "Ha Ha?" It took a while for us to figure out that one. It means I'm Yours by Jason Mraz in honor of the scat singing parts. So obvious; silly us. Curtis has been jammin' with him on that one for over a year now.
After the song is chosen, he looks to me. "Sing, Mama?" It is not really a question, but a demand, and though I am not a singer, I indulge him anyway. Let me tell you, it is a challenge to hold a tune while he is plunking away in who-knows-what-key. It doesn't really matter though, because he stops after about 10 seconds and flips through whatever book happens to be on the stand to find a new song, asking himself, "What song you want?"
Isaac finds my singing entertaining as well, especially if I bob my head back and forth and make silly faces while I sing.
Because music is such a big part of our lives, I thought our blog could use some music as well, so I added a player. Turn on your speakers Dad :) It is way down at the bottom on the page, in case you would rather turn it off. On it you will find many of the songs that are gracing the rooms of our home on a daily basis whether it be through the speakers, from our mouths, or from the piano. I hope you enjoy listening in on another little part of lives.
~Jen

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Sweetest Smell

I have loved lilacs for as long as I can remember. I love the range of colors from white to deep purple and every shade in between. And of course the wonderful smell, that I have often considered to be my favorite smell. When I was a little girl, my Mom and I would go for walks after dinner and we would stop to smell the lilacs that bloomed next to the street in the neighbor's yards each spring. Sometimes, we would even take along a pair of scissors and sneak a few small clumps of the sweet blooms to take home with us. Yes, we were the Late Night Lilac Thieves. Even though the lilacs wilted quickly in a vase of water, it was worth it to bring them inside for just a day to smell the wonderful fragrance that could only be experienced for a few short weeks of the year.

A few years ago, when Curtis and I bought our house and began to landscape, I knew that I wanted a lilac bush of my own. We chose a variety called Sensation that has pretty white and purple bi-colored petals. Unfortunately, it did not bloom last year because I had gotten a little prune-happy the previous fall. Over the last few weeks, I have been watching and waiting anxiously as the little purple buds grew. A few days ago, they were finally open; a beautiful sight. That evening, I walked over and plunged my face into the bush, inhaling deeply. Something was different though. They smelled good, as far as flowers go. But not as great as I remembered, and definately not good enough to be called my favorite smell in the world.

I then realized what was different. The most fragrant smelling lilac could never compare to the smell of my sweet baby's head. It is such an indescribably sweet smell that I spend hours every day with my nose pressed to the top of his head, breathing in his scent, and trying to decribe to myself just what it is that he smells like. But an answer never comes to me, so I just sit there and breathe it in. I never get tired of that sweet smell and even avoid washing his hair with soap because I don't like how I have to wait a few hours for the scent of the the soap to disappear and his own natural baby smell to come through once more.

So, I am sorry Beautiful Lilac Bush, I have found a new favorite smell. Happily, it lasts longer than a few weeks. And I can breathe it in all day long and never get tired of it.
~Jen