Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sissie at 20 months~

You:



:Have moved in with your brother and seem to like it! Though you aren't sure why you have to sleep under the loft and not up there with him.
:Are running everywhere.  Downhill has special sound effects.
:Sign like crazy. In sentences and everything!  I should make a list...
:Sing yourself to sleep.
:Make scrunchy, kissy face.
:Climb up and down the ladder on E's loft. Even in the dark.
:Are really observant and sign to me all the animals (especially), vehicles, trees and other strange sights that you see.
:Say "No!" and "Mine!" but so sweetly I don't mind too much.
:Have started playing a make believe game where you are going to school and say "bye-bye" and close the door over and over.
:Started resisting your own car seat and want to ride in Emerson's seat instead.
:Want to go down the stairs without holding hands.
:Have strong opinions about which way to go when we are driving (or walking for that matter.)
:Love to look at kitties on instagram.
:Want to read books all the time and have your own sign for Dr Seuss books.
:Still love the binky.
:Drink a lot of milk.
:Eat a great variety of foods, love salsa and other flavorful foods (hooray!)
:Like to go visit the neighborhood chickens and cats as much as possible.
:Still love to swing.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Flax

I'm a little knitting obsessed right now.  I just don't seem to be able to stop.  This morning I finished another Barley for John and already I've started a Clayoquot for Anjali.   Today is slightly cool and over cast.  I have several hours of work to do while the apartment is empty.  And, of course, I had to start a new project?  Clearly, there is something just a little bit wrong with me.


Before either of those hats there was a sweater for Anjali completed.  I really love the patterns from Tin Can Knits (could you tell?) Even as a total novice knitter I feel empowered to start color work and pick up stitches and use DPN's like I know what I am doing.  This sweater didn't come out perfect (nothing has yet! :) but it is perfectly wearable and fits her great.  Cute as a button if I do say so myself.


I made her the 2-4 year old size with shorted sleeves.  I'm hoping she'll be able to wear it next year with the sleeves at 3/4 length.


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thinking Before Speaking




I promised myself I'd write something this week.  So here I am, trying to figure out what to say.  I feel a bit overwhelmed.

I'll start with this- kindergarten has been a roller coaster so far.  I've started to fear the phone ringing in the middle of the day.  I'm not sure what I expected before E started but it certainly wasn't this.  In some ways it is as hard as having him home since we are always thinking up new strategies to help him out in school.  I always think we are getting ahead and then suddenly he takes two steps back.

I can tell you one thing.  He is different than other kids.  Not all other kids but certainly "typical" kids.  He cannot control impulses.  He reacts so strongly to situations that might go completely unnoticed by others.  He is obviously very smart but that isn't enough to be successful without constant support.

I tell myself that is a lesson for me in impermanence.  Now is not forever.  This reality is only here today, tomorrow may be very different.  Of course, that gets me wishing to see what tomorrow will be like (please let it be easier for him! for us all!) but rushing today away does not make tomorrow more beautiful.  It only makes today gone, lost and missed.  So today we talk over the things that went wrong and the things that went right.  We go through the rules to remember (he has quite the long list now.)   We hope for understanding on all sides.  We love.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Metro Tee

A few weeks ago I decided I needed to go to the Oliver + S website and look at patterns.  Clearly a bad idea as I wanted to buy most of them.  Especially enticing was the t-shirt family pack.  A pattern for everyone in the family?  Yes, please.


I put the women's together in about three naps.  Next time it will only take two since the pattern is already cut and taped.  It was really simple.  I thought the neck was too tight at first but it is very comfortable on.  I also freaked out a bit when putting the sleeves on and matching the curves but then I remembered reading something about attaching knit sleeves on the Collette blog.  I can't find the link now but it mentioned dividing the stitches in half and starting at the top of shoulder and heading towards the armpit for each side.  Suddenly it was easy.  A very satisfying little project.



The fabric is more vintage who knows what from who knows where.  I didn't have one bit of thread in a matching red so white it was.


I am looking forward to making them for the kids wand being able to do fun applique before putting the shirt together.  Anjali clearly needs a kitty shirt and a doggie shirt.  Maybe a chicken one too. :)



Monday, August 4, 2014

Barley




A funny thing happens at the end of July or the beginning of August each year.  Suddenly I have trouble thinking of anything but sweaters.  You'd think it'd be too hot to pick up a crochet hook or knitting needles and handle wool but somehow it isn't.  I start thinking of how the little people in my house will be cold in the mornings soon.  In need of an extra layer on round bellies and and little arms.  How their heads should be covered, their ears kept warm.



It makes sense, really.  A sweater does not make itself over night.  And now that I am knitting as well, who knows if the project will come out at all?  Who knows who it will fit?  (okay- I'll admit I am swatching today.)

E received the first thing this year.  Using the left over yarn from his baby blanket (which was one of the first things I crocheted!) I used the Barley pattern from the Tin Can Knits Simple collection. (I have both of the sweaters on my list to do next.  A Flax for Anjali in a cotton blend and a wool Harvest.)  I loved using this pattern and their tutorials.  It was easy and quick.  I finished it in under a week.



Something weird happened and I was twisting the stitches for the first half.  I realized it half way through and fixed how I was knitting.  I actually kind of like the texture difference.  Can you see it?  Any knitters reading and can tell me if it has to do with knitting in the round?  I don't think I've done this to other projects so I am wondering how I managed to be so consistent here...

Anyway, it fits the young man perfectly.  I am hoping he doesn't loose it on the first day it is chilly.  John lost his hat last year so I am thinking of using the pattern again for him.  In a different yarn of course, but they would still be a little matching.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This girl.






Has it been forever since I talked about her?  I feel like it.  Each day she grows so much you can tell the next day.  I think she is two inches taller than a month ago.  Suddenly reaching the edge of the counter with her little exploring fingers.  Reaching for whatever she can get.  Last night she climbed over the back of the high chair and into the seat for the first time.  Nothing is safe on the table now.
She signs all the time, learning a new sign every day if you offer them.  Yesterday she woke up from her nap and earnestly signed, "Help. Want dog."  So very sweet.  And out we went to find a neighbor walking a dog to love on.
She loves to walk and find friends at every stop.  She squats down and holds her hands out and rubs her fingers together to call to birds and squirrels and cats and dogs to come to her.  I will pet you, she promises.  I will be gentle.  I've never seen another toddler so gentle to animals.  So in control of her hands.
What a pleasure it is to spend the whole day with her alone.  I feel like I am really getting to know her again.  What she likes to do and eat and when she wants to sleep.  On her schedule for really the first time of her life.  Emerson and Papa are gone all day and it is just us girls.  Yesterday to the pool and out with the stroller.  In with books and snacks and watching the rain.  The day before down to some shops downtown touching the fibers together, blowing kisses to the shop owners as we left each one.
And the kisses.  Kisses for you, kisses for me.  Kisses for Emerson and Papa and Susie kitty and Fifi.  Kisses for her pillow and blow them to all the other friends too.
Now she loves cleaning.  Give her a baby wipe and you can just watch for 10 minutes while she does around cleaning. Wipe and wipe and wipe.  Until it is shiny.
Always, always, the sweetness of such a love.  A reminder everyday that her name means blessing, offering.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Elimination Diet: Wheat and Nightshades



Hello!  I've been a whirlwind of summer fun the last few weeks and so I am late getting this update. Wheat week (woot!) went by with no symptoms at all.  Then this week I am on nightshades.  Thank goodness!  That is a long time to go with out tomatoes.  I think I am going to be fine there.  Next week- Added sweeteners!!  We already have a date planned for French Broad Chocolate.  Because people- it has been 3 months!!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Busy and Full



Our days are flashing by.  Today, Emerson went to school for a half day.  Next week he'll start for real and he got into an amazing music program so he'll be at school all day.  I imagine he'll be bushed at the end of the day.  Out OT reminded us to prepare for meltdowns in the first month and to keep our calm so that he can regain his.  I might put some signs up for us.

Today is rainy and grey.  Perfect and cool.  I love days like this, they are such a blessing in the summer.  I have a pile of patterns and ideas to work on.  I have marketing work. I have house work.  But it will all keep a little longer.  Yesterday, once the baby (can I call her that still??) was asleep Emerson and I drew pictures and read stories.  I left the dishes piled high in the sink.  I knew there were only a few more days like this left and it was so much more important to just be with him 100%.  It was the right choice.  So seldom is there time to just enjoy each other one on one.

And then this morning he came in to wake me up, already dressed (we'd laid out his clothes) and sweet as pie.  It was easy to shuffle everyone to the table and into shoes and out the door.  Such a blessing.  Yesterday he told me, "I'm glad to go to kindergarten.  I feel like I am growing up so fast.  In just ten years I'll be a grown up!"  Oh, yes, my love.  But for today, you're my buddy.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Elimination Diet: Gluten



This week I've added gluten back in.  No wheat, just other sources of gluten.  Because barley is a little harder to have in the house and not share with Emerson I chose to get a loaf of rye bread to experiment with.  This was the first time in two months I could eat a sandwich.  I'm not even going to explain how big that is for me.  My favorite things to eat have always been sandwiches.  I even had to get used to the idea that John does not consider a sandwich dinner except occasionally. What??? Took me years to figure that out.

This last few days have been a real pleasure.  So far, no side effects.  Now I have to wait four more days without it and make sure.  But next week is wheat.  I'm interested to see how that goes.  Corn is definitely out for me.  I'm so glad I'm doing this, no matter how hard it has been.  I had suspected corn a little but never eggs at all.  And for months I've been avoiding gluten and wheat when I felt bad which means subbing lots of corn!  No wonder I wasn't getting better.

I have one full month left and I've already learned so much.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Hawthorn



I've been working on this dress since March.  Intermittently, slowly.  Trying to do things as well as possible instead of my usual rush job. I even made a muslin and decided to size down, knowing this satin would show every crinkle where the fit was wrong.  I am looking forward to finishing the muslin into something wearable too.  It'll be fine a size up in a light weight woven stripe.  I've put it off because of the buttons I think...  There are a lot of buttons.

This is Colette Patterns again.  They really write a beautiful pattern.  I want to go back and put smaller buttons on the collar to convince it to stay down on both ends and up the men's wear details on it.  I didn't have time to get matching buttons before the wedding when I realized that the collar just wasn't going to behave.  When my mother in law asked me to be in her wedding I knew I had to find something special.  Something pretty and simple and that I could nurse in and it had to be royal blue.  I decided it would be easier to make something than find it in a store.  Which is true in some ways.  I spent (with the pattern) about as much on this as I might have an off the rack item.  In the neighborhood of $60 (which of course does not include the cost of my time!)

The satin is a cheap polyester shantung style that I used wrong side out so it would look more like silk.  The inside is very shiny.  (It actually feels great on the skin, being so slippery.) I wanted a silk dress but couldn't do the $25 a yard price tag (since this pattern calls for 3 yards) and this does the trick for the look and is extremely forgiving in its wash and wear qualities.  I could easily wash and wear it every day for months without it showing any signs of aging I think.  Oh, the beauties of plastic!  I am hoping that I get over the dressy factor and use it as an everyday piece.  I know towards autumn I'll pick it more often as the weather cools down.  It'll be sweet with a cardigan and boots.

I sewed the skirt placket closed most of the way down so I wouldn't have to align any more buttons after I could wiggle it over my head.  Buttons alignment stresses me out. :)  The belt I spent an entire afternoon shopping all of downtown Asheville for. I finally got to Paul Taylor and had a belt custom made.  Brilliant. I didn't even know you could do that anymore! Perfect color to match my shoes. Perfect hard wear.  And the buckle is interchangeable!  I'm so excited about this idea....


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sissie at 17 Months~

 You:

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:Love to give hugs and kisses.Sometimes you hit so you can kiss and make up.
:Are starting to say some words "bye bye", "all done", "mama", "meh" for Emerson, "eye", "hi", "night night"
:Had your first trip to the beach. You're a little apprehensive about the water. 
:Can climb into the car and into your car seat.
:Run to the top of the stairs then stop, giving us heart attacks. every. time.
:Stopped nursing two weeks ago.
:Are getting walked to sleep a lot.
:Still cry out in the middle of the night.
:Miss Emerson when he is gone during the day.
:Like to dance to music.
:Come over and grab my legs and kiss them.
:Bite. Stop it!
:Are showing interest in sitting on the potty.
:Have four molars coming in.
:Are starting to carry your baby doll around a lot.
:Still want to swing every day.
:Learn more signs everyday and use some together.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Soy, Corn and Craziness



Soy seems to have been okay, though I will admit to not eating as much of it as maybe I should have.  I had one serving a day plus tamari on anything I could think of...

Today is the first day of corn and already I feel bloated and a little gross.  I did have corn three times today so maybe that was overkill for any day... But I couldn't resist.  Corn is such a big substitute for all things gluten and snack like.

Anyway, I'll give it a couple more days to judge.  Yesterday my lovely mother in law got married and I spent the whole day running around with her and eating nothing but fruit and cheese(when we ate at all.)  It was a wonderful day and everyone had a splendid time.  I wore the Hawthorn dress I made from Colette Patterns.  I even got pictures for you!  I'll share later this week.  Can you believe how many things I've made the last few months?  I don't think I've been this productive since Emerson was born.

Speaking of the little (big) guy, tomorrow he starts an early entry program for his kindergarten.  They invite the kids to come do half days for a couple weeks to get the hang of things before all the bigger kids are running around.  Such a great school he is going to.  I am more amazed at them with each interaction.   Can you believe this little guy is going to kindergarten??

ps- I like pictures of feet. :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Monday, June 16, 2014

Dress A {hack}


It strikes me as ironic that I finally made a perfectly serviceable nursing dress the week before I decided that I was done nursing.  I've been working on this dress in my head for the last 5 years.  (I know, it is awfully simple to have taken that long!!) I love nursing my babies but somewhere around 14-16 months I'm totally over it.  When the teeth come out and the baby becomes the distracted toddler I'm done.  And I miss dresses!  This time, all done.  

Dress A is a blank slate tank dress.  My favorite shift style.  I lowered the neckline and notched it and added a button.  I added patch pockets.  On the next one I will omit the notch and put the pockets in the seam.  I am also thinking of adding a draw string waist.  Because of the pockets on this one you can't really belt it. But I don't mind.  No one is going to call me sexy in it (and some people might think I am hiding something.  No more babies here though!)  


None of the dresses from the Stylish Dress Book are made to look sexy.  They are all made for comfort.  I adjusted the bust darts big time.  I used the placement from the Tiny Pocket Tank and then dropped the point of the dart another inch.  In the future I think I can move it back up half an inch and the fit will be perfect. It hardly matters though, I keep thinking of omitting the darts all together (but that feels a little like I've given up too much :)  The brown buttons and butterfly patch are all vintage. The fabric is a shirting in a tiny mulberry stripe.  I bought it for $2.50 a yard and it is 60 inches wide. What the?? 


I see another of these dressed in my very near future.  That will round my summer everyday closet out-  4 dresses, 2 tanks, 2 skirts, 2 shorts, 3 tee shirts.  Done and done.

So- what do you think?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eggs and Soy



Last week I re-introduced eggs.  At first I thought things were going well but as the week went on I noticed that I didn't feel very well.  I'm a little surprised by that and plan to try them again at the end of adding in all the other things.  Adding them on vacation was probably not ideal.  The reaction was strong enough to keep me off them for the time being at least.  I am glad I went back to the doctor and it came up!

Our trip was wonderful though, enough beach time for everyone without getting sunburnt and even some down time for the grownups due to the hotel's camp program.  I'll never stay at another hotel for more than one night with out this feature again.  Talk about brilliant.  The cousins got to play and the parents and grandparents kicked our feet up for a few minutes without worry.  Ahhh.  It wasn't so hard to eat now that dairy has a green light.  I did have a protein smoothie at least once each day (but I have them almost that much when I am home now too.)

This week is soy!  Oh yes, I've missed tamari and the option of tofu and edamame in particular as I love them when it is hot out as a snack (and so do both kids!)

Woooohoooo!  This is week 3 of re-introducing items.  Only 6 more to go. (Ha!)

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Vacation!!



We are off on a little vacation this week and I am using it to practice a few things:

1. A capsule wardrobe.  I've been sewing up a small storm here and just finished a dress I've been trying to make for ages.  A shift dress you can nurse in!  I'll get action pictures this week with the beautiful beach backdrop and share more about it later.  But I will tell you now it is a hack of Dress A from the Stylish Dress Book.

2. Minimalist packing.  I am the queen of bringing an extra everything with the excuse that I have kids.  This time I am bringing a small amount of clothes and some detergent instead.  Only two things I am bringing are store bought and I'm feeling pretty proud of that.

3. Traveling while still on a fairly restrictive diet.  This week I added in eggs and dairy is back as well.  I'll be able to eat eggs for the first two days of the trip and then they'll be off limits for the rest of the week again. What I am not bringing in clothes is being made up for in food.  Give and take I guess.

I'm hoping to update from there but have no idea how it will be.  My laptop is on the fritz so I am not going to lug it along.  I'll be over on instagram for sure though.

xxoo


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Birds of a Feather



I could hardly resist the title.  Two is not quite enough for a flock but perhaps three will be.  Moving two sizes down from the last Tiny Pocket Tank I found a nearly perfect fit.  And I was a little surprised (though I had been looking at them both for many days thinking of these tanks) to discover I had picked two bird printed fabrics.

This one is vintage from a gifted stash.  The binding is part of the immense amount I got at the beginning of my sewing all those years ago.  This shirt cost me nothing but time to make.



There was exactly the right amount of the binding to do the neckline.  If I do say so myself, I think it is very anthro.  I still want to drop the darts an inch.  These children have certainly rearranged my body but I am getting used to it and trying not to mind too much.  All part of growing up, accepting the changes for what they are instead of fighting back so hard.

Also, perhaps it is time to clean my mirror?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hi Ho!



So far dairy has been great.  It has felt wonderful to reintroduce something I really like and felt strongly wasn't the problem first.  I'll be back to avoiding it the next four days and watching for any signs of a negative reaction.

Next week we go to the beach for a very long awaited (I don't know the last beach trip we made...) family vacation.  It should be interesting trying to eat out that many days in a row with this many restrictions.  I'll be packing a small health food store's worth of food. But at least I am fairly sure dairy will be back in the mix and so at least there is that.

You should see the list I've started making...  I already today the other members of the family I don't mind bringing a smoothie for meals out if it looks like that will be the only option for me.  (Or the best one...)  Of course, we'll have to go places that have gluten free options anyway because of Emerson and we are vegetarians but for goodness sakes, lets not make it more complicated for everyone.  It is funny to me that though I really like to be simple and not stress about the details of things I am now an exceptionally complicated person to eat with.  The irony is not lost on me.  "Learn to be intentional in all aspects of life" might just be my next fortune cookie paper (you know when I could eat at a place that serves those again in a month or two :-)

It is good thing I have cut down my wardrobe and only plan on bringing the minimal clothing I think I can get by with.  I'm going to need every square inch left over for the food and blender!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Diet: Week 5: Dairy



I'm trying out reintroducing dairy this week.  So far, wonderful.  Oh cheese, I love you.  I'll let you know if I still feel the same at the end of the week.

xxo

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Place Mats



Today I got rid of 4 trash bags of stuff.  Last night I spent my time from dinner to bed time clearing up our office space.  I got rid of so much, but there is a lot left to go.  For now I am basking in the ability to walk around and open all the closet doors (I kid you not.)  When my fabric table and area is cleared up I'll take a picture.  I feel so close to that happening (now that I can get there.)

We moved from a 2160 square foot house to 1180 square foot apartment in November.  I've already mentioned we got rid of a lot of stuff, but it wasn't enough.  Many will see that as a huge down size (and they are right!  Half the space.) I wanted it though.  I knew the place we were in before was just too big.  In jettisoning the junk I've learned that I had attached all these silly rules to ownership of things that I had no idea of before I read Everything That Remains.

I had no less than 4 sets of place mats and probably 6 table runners.  But you know what?  We can't use them right now.  The children make it impossible.  We haven't been able to use them for years and it will be several more before we can again. But here I am lugging them around like they are going to save me from  cancer or something.  I saved four place mats for some unknown event where only grownups are eating at my house and all the rest went to goodwill.  A whole drawer almost empty.  What is wrong with me??

Suffice to say I am learning the lesson over and over.  It feels good.  Some of the things that went out last night made me feel so brave.  Wow- I've been holding onto that thing because I feel that I must for some reason, but I don't.  I can give it away.  I won't have to think of, clean, move, reorganize it ever again.  (I know the italics are thick, but these are revelations.  They don't come in normal font.)

In five years, when I can use a table runner or a place mat again I can make or buy them.  But now that I am not hanging onto the hope that I can use them again because they are waiting in a drawer maybe I can get on with part of living that isn't waiting for a child to grow out of a stage.  Maybe, just maybe, I can enjoy the messy, long armed, grab everything and throw it on the floor stage we are in instead.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Diet: Week 4 Completed



Four weeks people- FOUR.  I'm still a little surprised.  The last week has been the hardest for some reason with strong urges to quit and have a doughnut or whatever I wanted at that moment.  An iced mocha. A caprese salad.  A cookie of any sort.  (After seeing this list perhaps I can blame hormones?)

Anyway today, on the last day of week 4 I messed up.  We were out running errands and up against a schedule and I hadn't brought anything with me, not expecting to be out so long.  There was an Indian restaurant that I thought would be safe.  Not one menu item without a nightshade veggie... Not one.  John had already gotten a plate from the buffet by the time I figured it out and so I just went with it.  Dairy is the first thing I am introducing back in so I chose some palak paneer and saffron rice and pakoras and just enjoyed it.  We'll see how it goes.  I was so hoping for a perfect record and have been diligent.  That isn't usually my style, I'm more fluid than rigid on most things.  I am pretty proud of how well I've done (knowing I still have two months and a beach vacation ahead to really mess it up with.)
I've come up with some pretty good recipes for the protein powder I am using and I even made something a lot like chocolate mousse the other night.  I think I'll try to recreate that tonight.

I am going to finish out the month and start reintroducing June 1st.  I'm thrilled to have dairy back on the table first.  I miss my after dinner cheese snacks.

Ps- Above is my version of a breakfast cookie.  This was my first try and they are pretty good (for diet food excluding all the things you'd normally add to a cookie).  I'll write down the recipe next time and share it if they come out well on round two.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sissie at 16 Months~

You:



:Sign bird, cat, swing, car/truck, wash, water, all done, more  and "I hear" by tapping your cheek near your ear.
:Are getting frustrated with things and scaring me a little with your temper.
:Will climb stairs all day long - big steps.
:Love doggies a lot and all the other animals too.
:Want to be outside.
:Like to stick our keys in the crack in the door, over and over.  You laugh each time as if this is the most hilarious thing on the planet.
:Love the swings.
:Are giving out kisses. You click your tongue to get just the right sound.
:Cry every night at midnight.
:Love motorcycles and trucks.
:Were frightened by the drive through car wash today.
:Love to meet new people but also feel a little shy when they engage you full on.
:Are practically running.
:Are past the "easy" part of babyhood.  You are constantly on the go and into everything.
:Have a great big brother whom you adore.
:Are enjoying the magnadoodle at quiet time.

{You weight 22.5lbs and are 29.75 inches tall.}

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sewing




I am still sewing over here.  Does anyone come here to see those kinds of things anymore?  It has been a while since I was able to share anything about making things.  It is an interesting place to be, moving so much out of my life and loving a craft that creates more stuff.  The Cooper bag is still going strong after a couple months constant use.  I love it and my husband doesn't even mind carrying it.

Most crafters have a "stash."  This is just a nicer word to use than hoard I think.  At least, in my case.  I'm struggling to figure out how to balance.  My goal for the rest of this year is to only use fabric I already have.  I can buy a pattern or the notions but no more fabric for a little while.  I have many ideas about what I'd like to create in the coming weeks and months, especially since I am trying to set up a capsule wardrobe.

In trying to start this right away I noticed that there is a huge imbalance in my closet.  I own about 75% patterned items.  Stripes, flowers, geometric.  You name it, I have it.  The funniest part about this?  I like what I look like best in solid, simpler clothing.  A gray shirt and my favorite jeans and I somehow feel like a million bucks.  And anything in chambray.

So I made myself a deal.  Only solid bottoms and patterns are reserved for tops.  I found I couldn't pare down my closet like I'd like to because my items don't match in a more interchangeable way.  Because I have so many patterned items!  I have one solid skirt right now.  One.  I wear skirts almost daily.  I am always struggling to make matches because of this.  After struggling to create a capsule wardrobe I am at least aware of what is going on.  Obviously I love patterned fabrics.  I'm not giving them up, just restricting them to one half of the outfit.  It shouldn't be too hard.  If I replace some of the patterned items for a blue skirt and a gray skirt they should match every item I own and all the fabric I have in the studio.



All of this to say I made a tank top from fabric that had been wasting away as an old failed dress idea in my hoard stash.  I used Grainline Studio's Tiny Pocket Tank.  It didn't come out the right size for me by the sizing chart so I had to add a little box pleat in the back and a box pleat in the front which I sewed flat all the way down.  I was afraid it would look too much like a maternity top if I let it open like in the back.  I broke my own golden rule: Always measure the pattern pieces.  I think I will go down two sizes for the next go around.  Which there will be.  It is a simple, lovely basic with super easy construction.  A blank slate.  I'm thinking of turning it into a dress once I get the right fit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Diet: Week 3 Completed!



Can you believe it?  Three weeks without sugar.  This mornings breakfast was sweet potatoes cooked with walnuts and cinnamon and then avocado on the side.  It was amazing how the sweetness of the potato came through.  I almost asked if someone have put sugar on it.

I still miss nightshades the most.  I've found a few places to grab food when out and stopped freaking out about leaving the house without food.  I can be hungry or I can find something if I have to.  I'm not very nice hungry so I've always avoided it.  Now I am just practicing being with the hunger.  I say to myself, "You are hungry, it is okay.  You will be able to eat again soon.  There is no need to be angry or snap.  You are hungry, breathe deep."  

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Own Sensory List

At OT


It is interesting that, like many health issues, no one knows where sensory processing disorder comes from.  There is some suggestion of it being hereditary and I almost laugh out loud at the irony.  Of course, each and everyone of us carries around a list of sensory issues.  Experiences we'd rather not (ever) have and things we'd really, really like to happen every second of every day.  The difference between us and my son is that we (mostly) know how to handle our own issues.

In the interest of fair play I thought I'd share a couple off my list:

1.  I really care about how what I am holding feels.  This manifests in a few ways.  One is silverware.  In the days before I got rid of all the mismatched pieces of silverware and bought a set I actually liked I regularly got up from the table and exchanged my fork or spoon if it was the "wrong" one(and most of them were.)  No way would I suffer through dinner with an offensive piece of flatware.  Also, I don't ever, ever, ever want to touch a smooshy banana.  Ever.
You can see this sensory issue in my choice of pens, cars (the steering wheel and gear shift), fabrics, yarns and crafting tools.

2. I'm sensitive to sound.  If things are too loud I literally cannot see.  You will never find me in the car with the radio blaring.  In fact, until very recently you would almost never even find the radio on in the car.  Silence is so much more enjoyable to me than additional auditory input that I regularly work in silence and have not one song on a device to listen too.  I occasionally choose a CD to listen to in the car and recently started listening to the radio when traveling alone just to make sure the outside world is still there. (I am married to a musician and feel lucky that he is so respectful of this.)

We all have a few (or ten) of these kinds of things.  It is amazing how well we all navigate the world with them.  I'm not surprised that many children aren't able to figure out how to deal with them. One of the things I read was that we all used to get a lot more sensory input in our daily lives that was calming.  Chopping wood, working in a garden, carrying water and other heavy items, working with and around fire were parts of normal life for thousands of years.  Now we schedule one weekend a year where we go camping, buy all our foods in grocery stores and have indoor plumbing (thanks goodness!)  It is a drastically different life than our ancestors lived.  We are trying to remember this when Emerson is flooding the floor in the bathroom to play in water or taking all his clothes off in a winter storm to snuggle into a fuzzy blanket.

 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Letting Go



In my constant search for inspiration I've stumbled onto Zen Habits and can't believe it has taken me so long to find it.  I have no idea why I chose to read Everything that Remains in the first place but what a revelation it has been.  Leading me to so many new places.  Zen Habits is definitely up my alley.  He sounds a bit like the voice in my head already. And, of course, I like that.  Who wouldn't want to hear advice and ideas that sound like you only wiser and more concise?

We should all read his book The One Skill: The Letting Go eBook and then go on from there and read all the rest of his words.  It is such a powerful little book, an idea that will serve you in every facet of your life.  Every. Single. One.

Go check it out.  Tell me what you think.  Tell him too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Diet:Completed Week 2



I'm not going to lie.  This week I am bored with my options and ready for some cheese or tomatoes or salsa.  I opened the calendar to June and wrote on each week what food is going to be re-introduced.  I am so happy that dairy is week one.  
I saw the doctor today and am actually up a couple pounds which I am super surprised about.  He said it because I am actually absorbing the nutrients.  After talking about how I have been feeling he suggested also cutting out eggs.  So many foods to miss at one time!  The evening is when it is hardest. I always used to load up on calories after the kids were in bed to make up for what I missed during the day.  Now I just have my smoothie or a rice cake with almond butter, coconut and raw cacao.  The other night I drank four glasses of water after the littles went to sleep and did feel much better the next day.
But- two more weeks and then the fun part starts.  Anything is possible!!

(ps- my toes are in almost every picture.)

 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Clearing the View



Each day more things go out the door.  I cleaned no less than the ten items off of the windowsill in front of the sink and that entire counter is free of any "extra" items.  Suddenly I find myself washing dishes in the middle of the day just to keep that area clear.  (This, my friends, is totally unheard of and my husband may be in shock about it.)  The sideboard is also nearly there.  Things don't get put away in my home simply because I can't think of anyplace better to put them.  It seems the only way to clean up is to clear out.  Some books left the house today.  The kitchen is on my list for tomorrow.  The excess is moving out.

All this is leaving room for more thought (hence all the writing.)  A few weeks ago I looked at my husband and asked how I got to age 33 and still had no idea what I wanted to do with myself.  Anjali won't be so little much longer, I'd say I have two more years tops that I'll be home with her full time.  By then I will have not worked a traditional job for seven years.  Not exactly what people are looking to hire I imagine.  But I am not worried about them hiring me so much as me choosing a job that isn't a fit.  After all this time on my own I think I am even worse at putting up with the bs than I used to be.  (And I was pretty awful at holding my tongue before!) How can I be such a grown up and still not know what the hell I want to do with myself?

That is a big part of this exploration of minimalism. I feel that if I can clear away the clutter I might just find out what is at the bottom.  At the heart.  What is important to me?  What turns me on and lights me up enough to do the work it takes to succeed?  I have no idea what it is, but I am determined to keep digging.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Getting Out and Sticking With the Plan




This weekend we went to the LEAF Festival and spent the day enjoying the weather and music and fun a huge festival like this can provide.  It was a good test for me in a couple ways: 1. Sticking to the diet with so many fun foods and drinks around.  2. See all the items for sale from vendors and not buying anything.

In preparation for the diet challenge I packed a lot of food.  We planned to be there from lunch time till bed time and I wasn't expecting to be able to find anything to buy and eat for myself.  Emerson also can't have gluten so we always pack all his food (which is extensive as the boy is always hungry.)  Being the kind of festival it is and in such a food conscious place (seriously Asheville is about the best town to have a food allergy or sensitivity) I thought we might be able to find something but didn't want to take any risks. Somehow we all ate all day and only bought one plate of curry (the was eaten mostly by John.)  What a success!  I should tell you about this sunflower seed bread I found.  It isn't much like bread, more like a cracker or not a bit like anything else and you'll just have to try it to see if you like it.  It is expensive but I don't eat more than one piece a day and enjoy it with hummus or avocado.  I really like it and I was totally surprised by that.

Usually at a festival browsing the vendors is a huge highlight for me.  I really am sentimental and have always liked to get a little something to take home and remind me of the place it is from.  This is never as rewarding as it seems like.  I almost always feel guilty for spending money on something I don't need and the amount of money I feel comfortable spending doesn't equate to a quality item anyway.  This time I just stayed away and did all my "window shopping" from a very safe distance.  It worked, and after the first couple times of passing by the booths and telling myself I didn't need anything and was purposely not buying I felt much less longing.  It felt good.

I did buy an experience and that was much cheaper and super fun.  Five dollars got me a few minutes on one of these and it was awesome.  Today my whole body is sore but that is because I did tons of flips and jumped 20 or 30 feet in the air each time.  It was amazing and so instead of bringing home a thing to clutter my house I brought home a memory that I might have skipped out on otherwise.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Diet: Completed Week 1



Already it has been over a week since I started this elimination diet. I have felt well over all and not starving too much.  Although I haven't figured out easy things to take along yet (but really, what is simpler than grabbing a couple carrots?  It just seems so boring...)

My mind, however, seems to be clearer, lighter.  I've been on cleanse type diets for this long before and had the feeling of lightness in the body but never so much clearness in my thoughts.  I'm eager to see what foods are responsible for the brain fog.  For years I've been blaming it on the children.  I almost feel like I should write an apology!  It's been amazing to see the brightness of the sky, the sparkle of the water this week.  Like I am coming up for air after too long under water.  I've been able to complete work and think through things with out getting bogged down, you see how much I've been writing!

I miss tomatoes the most right now.  It must be these warm summer like days.  I've been making a sweetish fig and cacao drink each day to get me through or fill me up at the end.  Here is the recipe:

- 6oz unsweetened almond milk
-3 figs
-2 tbs raw cacao nibs
-1 tbs nut butter
Blend :)

My immersion blender has been getting into regular rotation this week.  It is so much easier to clean than the blender.  And it takes up a quarter as much room.  Brilliant.

I wonder how much the clarity has to do with getting the things out of the house too.  So much has left and there is so much more.  The things take over.  Crowd you out of your own space and brain.  Make you forget what is actually important.  I am playing the minimalist game by my own rules.  At least as many items out of the house each day as the date.  I can't be held back.  I need to retake control of my own life.  I am tired of shuffling everything around.  I am tired of never being content with the things. The things I spend my "free time" shopping for.  There is so little, so little precious time.  What a waste.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Progress



I think my journey towards minimalism began long before I identified the term.  When we were moving down here I started to switch from loving and looking for color to fill our bedroom to searching for white and calm.  There could be details, but subtle, simple was what I looked for.  White sheets instead of patterned, a single white blanket.  A dark wood bed frame to give contrast but also to fall away visually.

I love the feeling of that bed now.  The soft texture of the blanket, the cool feeling of the sheets.  One painting, painted by my love for my Christmas gift this year, sets the meditative tone.  A place of peace.

But all around it, the clutter.  The noise of life I wouldn't give away, but the stuff I can never find a home for?  Ugg.  I see pictures of rooms without stacks of things everywhere and yearn for that but never knew how to make it happen.  There simply isn't room to put away everything we have in this small space.


Now I am beginning to see the way.  After just one week of playing the game I am beginning to see the difference.  A clear shelf in a cabinet, an organized dresser drawer, a basket full instead of overflowing.  It is so pleasant!  And I have so much more to do!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Water Play



This morning we went to a new (to us) park just a few minutes away.  We don't venture to nearby parks much because we have a playground where we live and a park with in walking distance but this morning called for something special as we had multiple errands to run (which is a recipe for disaster with us.)  In Trader Joe's I had several women mention, so sweetly, how they loved his energy or wished they woke up that happy and full of life.  This was before 8:30am.  Did I mention I'm not drinking coffee any more either?  And I greatly dislike loud noisy wild mornings even if I am caffeinated? So I am just trying to smile sweetly and keep up with him because I know there is no way he can get down to my level... (For the record this is what it is like everyday.  We love each other but we are different from each other in fundamental ways that really interfere with us enjoying each other.  I'm pushing myself, struggling, to be more 'up' instead of trying so hard to bring him down to my level any more.  I know this is good for me and for him.  But, people, I am tired!)

After surviving that and a stop by the thrift store to unload a few days worth of stuff we head off to the park.  Of course, Anjali falls asleep on the way.  Poor girl, she hardly ever gets a decent nap but she forgives us and loves us (and adores him particularly) despite it all.

E and I park the car in the shade and get out to eat a snack while she sleeps a few more precious minutes.  I see a better place to park to be closer to the playground but the entrance is from another street so we go on a adventure to find it.  When we park he bounds off to the playground and I try to get her into the stroller still sleeping without success.

The playground is pretty lame and completely without a spot for me to sit inside the play area.  They do have swings so at least Anjali can wake up to her favorite thing.  Running in front of the playgound was a tiny stream, no more than 2 or 3 inches deep, bubbling happily along.  Emerson was instantly there.  I took off Anjali's shoes but she was unimpressed.  Fearful almost.  We scooted back from the edge and watched E for a few minutes as she crept slowly closer.  Toes in grass, toes in mud, toes finally in water.  It was magical as I realized it was her first stream experience.  Last year she was too small and there hadn't been any good chance for it yet this year.

Eventually she was sitting in the water, sorting rocks as Emerson used the "Utah raptor toe claw fossil" he discovered to make underground streams.  We stayed a while longer.  I'd left my phone home so I couldn't keep track of time or take pictures.  The sky was perfect blue, the leaves on the trees all colors of bright yellow and green, looking young and fresh.We were all wet and muddy by the end.

The rest of our day was calm and easy (even the unhappy parts) and we got along very well together.  We've fought with him about water for 3 years.  Hand washing is always such an ordeal.  Using too much soap (like the whole dispenser), water flooding the floors, all over the walls.  I've always thought of the woods as our happy place, and thought it had mostly to do with the sticks and rocks, but now I am realizing it might have been the streams, the water, more than anything else.  Something in his little body needs to touch and play with the water.  Hands and feet in, no distractions, time disappears, defiance pacifies.

In the past I have sporadically set up water play at home (for years we had a sand and water table.)  It won't be sporadic any more.  It will be deliberate and regular.  It is amazing what one precious day can teach.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Diet and Minimalism Notes



It is funny to be doing a minimalistic diet in conjunction with a clear out of excess physical stuff in my home.  It has got me doing a whole lot of thinking, of seeing the cross pieces of my life as it currently is.  Looking at the change while it is happening in a very intentional and cathartic way.

Yesterday I thought I was doing very well with the diet, I even attended my first food oriented outing in the morning with great success.  I attended a brunch where people have a very clean, holistic style of eating and living and so I wasn't too terribly tempted.  However, I could only eat from three dishes there and by the end I was hungry.

When we got home I made kale chips and consumed them all (okay, I shared a few with everyone else, E in particular.)  John made grilled cheese for himself and Emerson and that was fine until I was sitting across from them and had a little cartoon like daydream of myself ferociously attacking them and eating their sandwiches.  I almost burst out laughing at the table and decided I'd go heat up a sweet potato after that.

I have always had a quirky way of daydreaming in cartoon comic book style.  It seems odd to me particularly because I don't spend much time with comics or draw much more than a stick figure or a flower.  The results so often make me laugh out loud and I love it but I do wonder about how the mind works.  What are you doing in there brain??

Taking things out of the house is so fulfilling.  Right now I am practicing restraint knowing that the days will be adding up quickly soon and suddenly it will be many more things at a time.  I'm eager to clear out the excess in the kitchen.  I just saw that Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus will be nearby on a book tour soon.  I think I am going to sneak down for the evening.  Just for fun.  Maybe I can find a partner in crime for that as well.

Today I am getting rid of a few pieces of furniture.  Ahhh.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Minimalism



Next up? Minimalism.  
This is an exciting topic to me, one with many, many branches and sprouts growing off of it. I hope you'll explore it with me.

At the time that we moved from the first house we rented in Asheville to the apartment we are in now we threw out so much stuff I can't even begin to describe it all.  I wish there was a picture.  A 12 foot box truck would have been full.  And this was after a move just one year before!  Some of it was forced because of a moldy basement and some of it was baby things outgrown, but much of it was just too much stuff.  Too much!!

I am the type of person who remembers where almost everything in my house came from.  I know which of Anjali's clothes came from which person, I think of them every time she wears them.  I know who gave us the shower curtain for our wedding (10! years ago) and think of them when I see it.  I remember who sent each toy, where I bought each shirt and piece of fabric.  I think of many of these things and they make me happy each day to remember friends who are far away or moments that were wonderful.  I love that I think of my grandmother each day though she has been dead for 18 years because I have some of her things in my home.  

What I don't love is the accumulation that happens because of this.  My friend gave me a necklace that I don't wear but I keep it anyway. The redundant toys and clothes for the children that are kept because of the gift giver (or my child's hoarder personality. ;)

Since we live in a smallish space I am constantly editing.  There is always a paper grocery bag in the closet being filled with the excess and, about every week or two, I take it to the goodwill.  But still there is more, and in many ways, we feel like we don't have "enough."  We wish for more money or time or things.  But more and more I am feeling ready to let go.

I've started with my own closet.  Selling items that don't fit or work if I can.  Choosing only a single higher quality item if I need to replace something.  Simple items that can stand up over time (and getting them only at consignment type stores where I already have credit for selling my own clothes to keep the prices in check.)

This blog got me started thinking on this (interestingly enough.) Check out all the blogs in her series of wardrobe architect.  And then on a whim I bought this book the other day which I am thoroughly enjoying.  I have to check into the 333 project next.  And I've convinced a willing victim friend to join me this month in the Minimalist Game.
Want to play along?  I'll be documenting it on instgram.