Tuesday, November 2, 2010


So, again it has been a month between posts! I read and read other blogs, but neglect mine. Since I could use a little company, I suppose it would pay to have something for you to read. :)

Lately, we have been very engaged in all things domestic -- making yogurt and bread and soap, knitting a bit, organizing the babelet's toys in a yes-you-guessed-it Ikea Expedit.

and yet.

I find myself drawn in by the desires for some combination of a more homemade life, for a tightly-woven urban homesteadish community life, a life with a larger garden and time to tend to it, a life in which I am not on the computer so much.

Last week, one of my dearest old friends and her family came to stay with us for 5 days or so. She and the girls (age 7, 9, 10) are travelling and home schooling and have been for much of the last year, and when they are at home in Minnesota, they go to a Waldorf school, so the travelling schooling is likewise Waldorfian. I find so much about it appealing -- and so much in tune with what I do and want for our family's life. Calm, beautiful wood and simplicity, no flash cards, plastic only where necessary (those stacking cups are essential!), music that fills the soul, deep learning. Long ago, I peeked into the world of Waldorf, but as a rabbi, the Christianity of it just was not a good fit. I've also since found Montessori so appealing in many ways, though not all.

but this just reached in and grabbed me.

(There are two preschools nearby that I imagine I would want to send Nina to, one Montessori, and one which says it is a mix of Montessori, Waldorf, and Gardner. Both are very beloved schools. These days I'm leaning towards the latter -- though it's all theoretical at this point, as we plan to keep Nina at her playcare through next year. It's across the street with only 6 kids, calm and loving and we can pay for only the hours we need.)

For the first couple of days that Sarah and her family were here, I found myself only envious -- envious of their life on a lake, their school 5 minutes from home, the way that their life works so well. As our time together settled in, though, I was able to recognize that theirs has also been an evolution, not some fantasy of perfection from the moment they slipped on their wedding rings. I know we will figure out a good structure of our life, school for Nina, proximity to the things that are important, and we're not quite there yet for the long-term.

I struggle between wanting to be part of the urban fabric and wanting to have room to run and play. Between wanting to be a part of making urban public schools better and wanting my kids to have a beautiful experience of school. Between wanting to be able to walk to our errands, and not having so many errands. I struggle with the fact that we live in one of the most expensive cities in the country, and I would rather not. I would rather live in a good progressive city in the midwest. But we are here for a while (forever?), as my stepdaughter navigates both homes, and our jobs with good structure for our lives are here.

Plus, though the neighborhood is a bit right-leaning for us (as Sarah would say, no raw-milk drinkers), our house is so good for us right now, and likely for a good while. It has enough room, good light, a garden and yard, places to walk to -- the library, a few restaurants, CVS, a good playground, the grocery store -- and is close enough to the things we need these days. Our neighbors are friendly, and it's a safe quiet neighborhood. I don't know what is next, and I can't see it just yet. I think for now, I'm doing ok at trusting this process, but I'd love company in it. And if you've read this far: I'm curious, for those of you with a yet-to-be realized vision, or multiple clashing visions, how do you navigate it?

Monday, September 27, 2010

one year.

so, our little girl has been on the planet for a year. she's a walking, babbling, laughing child -- and I love being (one of) her mom(s)!

for her birthday, I made an applesauce cake thanks to a recipe from my friend Martha, complete with cream cheese frosting. Nina took her piece quite calmly and happily and proceeded to lick all the frosting off the top.

I'm now obsessed with getting our home a bit more organized and baby-friendly -- my mom pointed out that it would be helpful to have a baby gate at the bottom of the stairs, so a few dollars and amazon clicks later, we do! my mom was right. more soon, but someone just woke up from her nap.

Monday, August 2, 2010

o summer.

must get better about posting.

a few snaps of life these days:

bean bags
toy corner
yogurt in jars
bad veg garden

She's climbing up the stairs as if there were ice cream waiting for her at the top.
loves to take any piece of fabric or paper and swing it around the back of her neck and wear it like a scarf.
wrestles with the dog; because (thankfully!) the dog isn't biting her, I think she has the upper hand. he's very generous.

this summer, the big girl has been to basketball camp for a week, farm camp for two weeks (yea!!!), sleep-away farm camp, and is now doing two weeks of cooking camp. then a week of local rec dept camp and then we're all headed for a godwilling glorious week in wellfleet.

it's time to get in my kayak again, to introduce the babelet to sand and shells and tide-pools.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

it's been a while...

...nearly three months! Nina is a total charmgirl. She eats tons of things -- pizza and pineapple and tofu and grilled chicken with an Indonesian spice rub and hummus and on and on. She drinks from a little straw cup, though she needs to learn to stop her sips, as she just drinks way too much and sputters otherwise. She's pulling herself up onto anything, and this past weekend, she climbed up the 2 steps from the family room into the kitchen, and she started saying...mama!

Even though it's been so long, this is just a drop-in post to remind myself to post more. We're doing great -- making our own yogurt and ice cream and soap (H makes it and people love it!) -- I built a raised bed a couple of weeks ago and we put in a veggie garden, and in general I think we're headed in a good direction, family-wise. Plus, our new radiator covers make me swoon. The radiator covers in two bedrooms, though they represent an outlay of money rather than crafty or handy effort, are also my latest delights, as they make our home look more, well, homey.

and a snapshot of the girl who makes our home look homey.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

our sweet potato

So, a little update post. In the eating department, Nina has now eaten (in addition to the banana) broccoli, apple, a disc of raw carrot at the Himalayan Bistro (where we went to celebrate Jo's arrival day!) along with teensy tastes of mint and tamarind -- and this evening at dinner, she had sweet potato fries and oatmeal! Now, not a great deal of food is actually getting in, but she's biting away and mooshing it around in there, and there were definite swallowing sounds! bits of gagging here and there, but that's a part of the whole baby led weaning enterprise. The babelet even spent a good deal of time with the spoon in her mouth, even if it wasn't the traditional eating-end of the spoon.

For Purim, our family dressed as Red Sox players and said we were Spring Training -- and we won second place! I was so happy that Hali did it, because she's not big on costumery or having things not be what they seem, so baseball players seemed like an innocuous way to start. I also made her a wool felted crown, but alas, in the felting process it became too small for her head...

I also did a little editing of her Er.go -- took off the label and ironed a few patches, just for a spot of fun. Not the same as sewing my own baby carrier, but it's a start. In the sewing department: I also bought fabric to make little birdie for a mobile for Nina's room, and I'm very excited to start. I think I should probably throw the fabrics in the wash first, but I *so* much want to get started! In the meantime, I'm knitting Hali some mittens, and I have yarn for a pair of pants I'm going to make for Nina for next year.

Hali is getting into the whole homemade life herself, and this evening she's making soap and ice cream. Sure, money's tight, but we're having fun.

Friday, February 19, 2010


is going well! (other than sleep, but that's its own ball of wax) Nina started playcare -- the term that helps me make peace with her being in day care -- a few weeks ago, and though it's not a Montessori, big windows and all-wood everything, it's great. She is in a home day care that is across the street from our house, in a house with a double backyard and 6 other kidlets. Today, after going to meet a group of moms and a dad (from a local parents listserv) for coffee, I brought Nina over and they were in the yard, snow and all, playing in the sunshine.

I thought 'o, it's too bad that Nina needs her diaper changed and is ready for a nap, because now someone will have to go inside with her,' -- but I was pleasantly surprised! They have a changing table and a crib in the open garage by the yard, and they'll just wrap her in the sleep sack and swaddle her up and my little girl will get a midwinter nap en plein air...so very sweet.

Otherwise, she's fabulous. SItting unassisted, trying out the high chair, which is our old Tripp Trapp (from when Jo was younger!), chewing on spoons -- and has even tried a banana once! I said to H, "Look, she just put it right in her mouth -- she knew just what to do and put it in without even figuring it out!" H looked at me funny, because the part I was missing is that Nina puts everything in her mouth...Anyway, she enjoyed it, and I enjoyed calling her baNina for a day or two.

Monday, January 18, 2010

navigating simplicity

so, where to begin? our little sprout is 4 months old, I'm back at work, about to launch into part-time childcare for Nina (something I'd never really envisioned...), and trying to figure out how to simplify our life, weave together the experiences and needs of one pre-existing child with my priorities for our family, and not spend so much of that time on the internet!

small accomplishment: I have knitted a couple of cloths for Nina, which were to be washcloths, but seem to be little lickie cloths at the moment. I made them with red yarn from a never-completed sweater for a friend's son. son is now 15. (!).

I just may follow my friend Casey's lead and start ordering a weekly vegetable delivery from Boston Organics -- which seems like a compromise between a CSA which hasn't been the right mix of veggies for our family, and going to a farmer's market, which just isn't in the cards yet due to my still trying to navigate my life.

the hard part: Hali was single for several years before we met, working full-time and going to school, and Jo has Cerebral Palsy and is (basically) an only child (she has 2 older half-sisters, but they're grown and in the world. As a result, Hali became accustomed to Jo watching a lot of junky TV -- it was the only break Hali had to do things like make dinner and such -- and we also own a Wii. Apparently the Wii is, in theory, good for Jo to work on strengthening her muscles and coordination (she uses one with her OT), and as a child who is sporty -- and an only child, and one with CP, and therefore not so easily able to play sports with other kids -- the Wii makes some things possible that wouldn't otherwise be an option without a tremendous effort of time, money, and/or expense, none of which we have at the moment.

So what do I do? I don't want Nina growing up with iCarly in the background. Probably I mostly need to chill the heck out, but I'd love others' perspectives on becoming a simple-living family. Hali does support my interests for the most part, and TV watching has gone down, so perhaps I need to be more patient and put more energy into what I can do and less into what others are or are not doing, and go from there...