a stitch in time

i started a new project last night. i decided more than a year ago that i would like to make ada a quilt out of marko's old shirts. i put word out and slowly those shirts that were torn or stained fell into my fabric pile. i procrastinated on the actual making using the perennial "tomorrow" as my excuse, but then the other night ada woke up 3 times in the night from what i suspected might be the cold, and i decided that i needed to get on it, the great shirt quilt wasn't going to make itself. as for where i got the idea, i am not sure if i am reading too many blogs where women seem to miraculously turn something old and worn out into something new and wonderful, but i am aspiring to something, letting the warmth of delusion soothe me. so last night i was here watching the 30 rock premiere and cutting up the first of what has now become several shirts, and i got thinking about sewing and i, our rocky journey together.

i remember the first time i ever saw a quilt. wait, what i mean to say is that i remember the first time i ever SAW a quilt. i was with my brother, aaron, and we were at his friend's apartment. i was still in high school, he had just escaped. it wasn't an apartment that his friend lived in with her parents, it was an apartment of her own (well, with roommates) and it seemed so exotic and wonderful. i remember parts of it now and in truth it was mostly poorly lit and thrift store-ish, but back then it was something. truly, it was. i wasn't there long before i noticed the quilt sitting all alone in the corner. it wasn't even a real one, at least not what you are thinking. it was scrappy and smelled a little musty, mostly it was a mess, but i loved it. the creator had just taken old clothes, and sheets and cut uneven strips, some oddly elongated triangles, or rectangles that narrowed sharply at the ends, and had sewn them together with seemingly zero regard for colour, or texture, or flow. it was a fury of velvet and denim. so uninviting, and yet there was an energy to it that drew me in. i remember sitting a good part of the night staring at the sunken chair it called home. i thought about it later too, weeks and months after i saw it, long past the point in which i forgot the face of the friend who owned the home. it was the quilt that stayed. i was never quite sure why.

when i graduated from university my mom asked me what i would like as a gift. i got thinking about the quilt again, about how it must feel to make something with your hands, to place together all those colours and textures, to lay it all out and seal it with a stitch. i knew nothing about sewing, not one thing, i was a band student, we didn't have to take home ec, but i asked for a machine anyway. i would learn.

i had my machine for more than a year before i even took it out of the box. i was a bit nervous, so much expectation. thinking about a painting, or photograph, or quilt, is quite different than making one. i wasn't a fool, i understood this. as luck would have it though one day i happened upon a small out of the way sewing machine store and decided to go in. there was a lovely old lady in there (she looked just the way you are imagining complete with kittens on her apron) and she told me to come back with my machine and she would show me the basics. i was so excited i think i skipped the whole way home. and so it was in this way that i first learned how to fill my bobbin, and thread my machine, what a foot is and how to alter the tension. i was already making quilts in my head and they were wonderful.

what i didn't count on was all the stitch ripping and uneven rows, the unpredictable shrinkage, broken needles, and jammed machines. sewing is mostly about swearing and rage in the beginning, or at least it was for me. it was hard to see the colours and textures from the tears. i persevered though, through one, two, three full size quilts that were mediocre at best. i am sure none of them exist today, they didn't have what it takes to last. they were given to my boyfriend, my brother and my other brother respectfully. i was glad that each of them liked their quilts but i still felt defeated, they weren't what i intended, not entirely, i wished they had been something more. i wonder if the person who made that first quilt felt the same? i wish i knew where she was so i could tell her that to me it was perfect. to me it was the thing that made me make quilts in my head, even if it wasn't going to last and didn't have a colour scheme. i think she probably would have liked to know that.

i have since gone on to make a dozen or so quilt, but i have yet to make the one that i think is worthy of my dreams. part of it is knowledge, there is so much i don't know and i have never really had anyone to ask*, and part of it is patience and precision, two concepts that are key in sewing, neither of which i have ever been very good at. i don't know what will happen with the shirt quilt, maybe one day i will write about it and then you will think of me as one of those eco-bloggers that are able to reuse everything in their house, right down to their underwear (not really), or maybe i will end up with hundreds of perfect little squares that sit in a box, reminding me of who i long to be, always waiting for the next try.


* i now know kim over at milky beer who is a fantastic quilter, and will hopefully come and show me how to properly bind the shirt quilt, if i ever finish it!


i come from a land of plenty

I am sitting here in my cubicle, the sound of fingers clicking on keyboards tapping me through the morning. The hum of the fluorescent lights a fitting backdrop to the upholstered walls and utility carpet. It isn’t bad though, I mean no one here calls me mom and if they want juice they get their own, or at the very least aren’t expecting me to do it, which is a refreshing change. I have been back here, at work, for three weeks now. If I said the weeks have been long I would be lying, they have flown by. The days seem to end before they begin, it must be the newness, the novelty. I don’t expect that to last.

Being back at work means being back to sitting all day though. Sitting, sitting, sitting and then, once the mood strikes, getting up and fetching a tiny chocolate bar (or three) from the snack bowl, or how about one of those girl guide cookies, it is for a good cause after all! And then I go back to sitting. And so it goes.
It only took about a week before I started to realize that the sitting could be a problem (I bought all those new clothes, in a size 8, I can’t bust out of them yet!), and so last night I hauled myself to the community centre (which is half a block from our new house) for the 8:15-9pm aquafit class. It might have been the best thing I did all week.

I managed to make it through the maze of hallways that led into the change room, wading through dozens of exuberant children fresh from their lesson, past overflowing showers and curtained stalls, finally making it out to the pool. It wasn’t much bigger than a hotel pool, and the lights were all out but for one which shone down right in the middle, like an aqua disco. As my feet made their entrance I was delighted to feel warmth between my toes, it wasn’t hot tub warm mind you, but enough that one wasn’t jarred awake. It was right about then that I realized that the 20 or so people in the water were all over 65, every one of them, and they were all staring at me with looks that seemed to suggest I was maybe in over my head, or at least in a place where I maybe didn’t belong. I hesitated, but only for a moment, I wanted to see this through. What’s the worst that could happen?

As we sat waiting for the class to start I surveyed the crowd. It amazed me how much the dynamic mimicked what you would see in a high school class. There was the old Italian guy that the ladies seemed to take a liking to, he was standing directly under the light, three women laughing loudly at his side. Attentive to his witty words, their body gestures lively. Then off in the corner was an Eastern European man staring him down, jealous that even now after all this time he still didn’t have what it took to make the ladies laugh, or maybe he was sad that he lost it? The asian ladies were off in their own corner warming up with enthusiastic over the head hand claps and loud chatter, happy to be out with girlfriends, so much to say. The asian men seemed more content to tread water while holding onto the side of the pool, large kicks and water splashing everywhere. Then there was me, alone, watching it all take place. At the very least it became clear that any shortfall in co-ordination on my part was likely to go unnoticed.

The instructor showed up and she too gave me a glance, maybe it was a double take, I couldn’t read what it meant. I buckled up and found a spot where I could see her. As she went for the stereo I was imagining traditional Chinese music (a staple of this particular community centre, and rightfully so) or maybe something adult contemporary but upbeat, perhaps a remix? It turns out it was full on techno and right from the get go it was all hands on deck. The moves were complicated and challenging and at one point I think I had to catch my breath. As you might expect the rest of the crowd was mostly just doing their own thing, following along when it seemed possible, walking in place when it didn’t. This wasn’t really about exercise for them, well not in the same way it was for me, it was about getting out and being social. Being able to say you left the house. There were moments when we had to move ourselves from one side of the pool to the other with sweeping side steps and complicated arm moves, the result was mostly people crashing into each other and then everyone staying in one spot out of fear. I moved up, closer to the instructor and wildly side stepped away.

It should be mentioned that the cardio room looks onto the pool. The demographic in there seemed much the same. There was an older man wearing not only a thick fleece hoody, but also a winter parka with the hood up while he pedaled away on a stationary bike. He seemed to be with a companion who rode the bike to his right, he was reading the sing tao out loud as he leaned heavily on his handle bars. I watched them intently as I lunged and arm flexed, a remix of land down under blaring over the system now (ah ha!). It was a scene almost too perfect, too comical to believe. There was even a lady who I suspect to be in her 70’s trying to work the rowing machine. After 40 minutes the wind down started and half the pool emptied, not much interest in strength training I guess. I was glad to be rid of the loud beat of the booming music (although I do like to sing “vegemite sandwich…”) and happy to welcome a little death cab for cutie and radiohead. It would have been relaxing if those ladies hadn’t started chatting again, oh well it’s their class, no need to rock the boat on my first day.

When it was over and the arm floats had been put back in the bin, I decided to try my luck at the sauna. It was a mostly male crowd, younger. I entered midway through a discussion about the Chinese calendar. Apparently, if you are born in the year of the pig it is better to be born between 6-9pm, then you will have a good life, anything in the morning and you are in trouble. I laughed when I heard it, and just like that I was part of the discussion. After admitting that I had no idea what year I was born in I was promptly told I was a rabbit. Very smart and wise is the rabbit, your face is a good face, a nice chin; you will live a good life! I guess good is pretty subjective really, and who am I to say he is wrong, I am not even halfway yet (I hope). Eventually the soothsayer left the wooded room and everyone laughed at his expense. The message was clear, he was a nut. It might be true, but I couldn’t help but say: “I don’t know, isn’t it better to believe in something rather than nothing?” It stopped the crowd in their tracks, and after a pause everyone agreed with nods and mumbles. Of course that opened myself up for a discussion about Christianity, which I should have seen coming considering the crowd, but I didn’t mind. It felt like community, and I liked that.

So what was the point? Maybe that you shouldn’t dismiss a party based on the crowd. Or maybe it's about opening oneself up to new experiences, how pleasant surprises are waiting for us all over the place if we choose to look. I need to do it more often. One thing’s for sure, I know where I will be next Thursday.


duct tape

duct tape

never leave home without it.


maia's day

maia's day
at first i put five candles, but then marko said it didn't seem right, sadder somehow, a reminder of all the time that has passed without her. so one, a yellow one, the colour of stars in children's books, the sun, and the centre of daisy's. just one sitting there right in the middle, just as she does within me.

happy birthday to you, my little maia.


visit from old friends

there is nothing quite like it.

apparently ada is one of those people that have to be in every photo, who knew?




you only turn one once

i know that it would have been better to get a photo of her smiling, or looking at the camera, heck, even one without fingers in her mouth would have been ok, but alas she is not an easy one to photograph, so for now this will have to do. i am pretty sure it is more true to who she really is anyway. we are having some family over tomorrow, and we will eat cake, hopefully there will be plenty of smiles then!

i will also round up her monthly pictures before the weekend is up, so we can all take a walk down memory lane.

but since today is the day, happy birthday to you my sweet little ada!

one year


jumping over fences

i recently acquired some pretty cool photo manipulating software called photo tools. it works as a plug in within photoshop and looks like it is going to be a lot of fun to play around with. i had intended to spend part of the evening tonight testing it out, but then i went for a run, and had an hour long bath while listening to the rain out the window, and now i am much too tired for computer things.

we'll see what tomorrow brings.


bringing the court to order

cohen's room is often neglected. i have never had adequate storage for it, and having to keep both kids clothes in there has proven messy. kids clothes in general are a huge pain, i mean they are constantly growing into and out of them, i feel like i need an inventory specialist just to keep track of it all. then we acquired all these little people toys which begged for shelf space, only i didn't have any, and so they would sit lined up against the wall (on a good day) looking haphazard and cluttered. the walls had leftover mounting tape from an art project that had long since been torn down. not to mention the left over christmas decorations and faded and limp artwork scattered around. the place was chaos and i felt like it was bringing the chaos out in the kids, so something had to be done. it took a couple of days but i think i have finally finished, i wonder how many more before it is back to a mess?




singing the tune without the words

i know, i know, i said every day. old habits are hard to break. truth be told i have fallen under the spell of spring cleaning and have been spending most of my time scrubbing floorboards and rearranging furniture. i may have a cool before and after tomorrow to show you some of my handy work.

tonight i did make it out for my walk though and i had camera in hand. i got a strap for my tripod this week, so i thought i would test it out. i had some specific shots in mind and was excited to get out and shoot them, but after i set up the first one i realized that i had the 50mm lens on the camera instead of the 24mm, and that just won't do. it wasn't the first time i left the house wearing the wrong lens, i'm sure it won't be the last either. i decided to make the most of being out and continued walking anyway. i stopped into my local shoppers drug mart where i was greeted by this little fellow
stuff of nightmares
i stared at it for nearly a minute, certain it was staring back. i was so captivated that i felt compelled to buy it, going so far as to scoop it up and carry it with me around the store, but then i changed my mind, turns out that he may just be too much bunny for me i'm afraid.

a few minutes later, after i was back on the street, i came across these
strange and slightly offensive, plus they sing!
there were close to a dozen of them lined up, their cheeks illuminated by the street light. my first instinct was that they were offensive, imagining that they sing "pow wow wow wow, pow wow wow wow" when you press their buttons (?!), but then i wasn't so sure. they seemed sort of proud to be there, i am not sure they want me feeling bad for them.

i did end up setting up the tripod in the end to take one shot of the traffic. it wasn't what i wanted, but i will try and go out again tomorrow, this time with the proper gear.

oh, and because it was too cute to pass up, here is one of my little lady singing her song slightly off key



it's been going really well over here, the sharing that is, i should probably go knock on wood now.


the road less travelled

i have become somewhat obsessed with photographing alleys at night. i will spare you the dozens of shots i have already, saving them for a day when together they make something interesting. but i wanted to share this one. it's rather ordinary and not a great photo at all, and yet, there is something about it that compels me.


over the moon

it's like one of those puzzles in the back of a children's magazine, can you find the mistake?


and now for something completely different

i think i am going to shake things up over here, try something new. when i think of coming here and writing something, i sigh internally, and put it off. i don't have the words in me these days. so, for awhile anyway, i think this is going to become a photo blog, with the odd caption thrown in. i am going to try and post everyday with a photo, or few, that represent the day to me (not unlike klay's brilliant idea over at 100 days, thanks for that).

day one is easy, it was her eleven month day yesterday, and today she walked barefoot outside for the first time, so much to celebrate.


squish it

cohen and i sat down for a little snack this afternoon. i didn't realize at first, but it was all orange, and i had put cohen's on a blue plate. blue and orange, a winning combination. looking at the plate i felt compelled to photograph it. it's one of those things that happens to me from time to time.

this is the photo
orange and blue
seems serene, doesn't it? everything was going alright, until we bit into our oranges and realized that they were pulpy and dry and everything an orange shouldn't be. i threw mine away, cohen had other plans. turns out he thought he should make orange juice.

also, because the last two have been about cohen, i will include a photo of the little lady, if for no other reason then i liked this one. she's a feisty one that ada.


yes, please

cohen's language is starting to pick up. so much so, that if you were to meet him today for the first time you probably wouldn't say, "don't you talk? come on, say something!" (yes people really did). i am liking the talking. i am finally starting to get what all the fuss was about kids and the darnedest things they say. i have also come to the conclusion that the two year old needs the cute saying repertoire to balance out the unruly tantrums, without the cute quip it is just a tantrum, and no one wants that, especially me (enough with the tantrums, please?).

don't get me wrong, he isn't precocious or anything. i am still waiting for the uncensored truth spoken in line at the grocery store or the unending questions about the state of the world. these days the thing that makes me laugh the most is his use of "no, thank you".

a few weeks ago we were in fort langley with baka, and as we always do when there, we were checking out the old timey locomotive they have on display. it was freezing cold that day and once i could no longer feel my pinkey finger i announced that it was time to move on. of course he wasn't super impressed with that and threw himself onto the grass and started wailing like a tortured cat. thankfully this type of display is becoming less and less frequent, but it is nothing new, what was new was that in between wails he was yelling "no, thank you!, no, thank you!". polite in his fury, i taught him well.

the other day i was tickling him, he was in stitches on the bed, rolling and trying to push my hand away he managed to gasp out "no, thank you!" between giggles. don't worry, i stopped right away. after i endured several ticklings as a child i swore i would never do it to anyone myself, but that laugh is too cute, and let's admit it, it's fun. the problem was never in the tickling, it was in not knowing when to stop. i know when.

the best though was when my somewhat judgmental christian neighbour came over to ask me a question. cohen came running over as i opened the door, he was only wearing a diaper below the belt (not all that uncommon around here after nap time...or anytime really), and as a result she felt compelled to ask "where are your pants cohen?" while looking me dead in the eye letting me know that she was on to me. cohen didn't even skip a beat and answered with "no, thank you" and skipped off down the hall. it's good to know he has my back.

in other news i am going through that change of season i'm so depressed i only feel like eating and watching tv all day thing. it seems to happen to me no matter the season. motivation. so. hard. i have made it out of the house every day this week, but i can't do it today, i just can't. i know that the temperature is very likely in the double digits out there and that there is not a cloud in the sky, but it will have to wait for me. today i am sipping tea and letting the kids play amongst themselves. some days are just like that.


this is a list

i saw a post over at lucky fish with a list of 15, perhaps a truncated take on the dreaded list of 25 that is all over facebook. i realize that it is kind of cheating, writing without writing, but that will have to do as i don't feel compelled to be here anymore, not since my camera up and left me, and yet at the same time i feel it is important. pushing and pulling, the essence of life.

15 things about cohen

1. he is obsessed with trains, i mean it, obsessed. when he is sleeping he sometimes mumbles and often, when i hear it, he is saying "tracks, trains, tracks, trains". i am not certain this is at all healthy.
2. he loves to help around the house, forever asking for "his turn" with the broom, and pulling his chair up to the counter to help cook (cracking eggs by squeezing his fist really hard while the egg is in it is his specialty!) or clean dishes.
3. he has a thing about open gates and insists on closing them when we are out walking. if the gate won't close properly due to improper installment or age, he appears to get agitated but he usually lets it go.
4. he loves tunnels, this mostly relates to number 1, but the interesting thing is what he calls a tunnel. first it was when we went under overpasses and now, when we are out walking, he insists that any sidewalk that has trees overhanging it is a tunnel, AND THAT IS THE WAY WE MUST WALK (preferably while singing "tunnel, tunnel, TUNNEL, tunnel").
5. he can pedal his tricycle quite well. for the longest time he couldn't do it, no matter how much we practiced, then one day he was on it and bamn, he was off. i am beginning to realize that much of raising a child is like this, wait and it will come.
6. he is having trouble learning his colours (what did i just say, something about waiting...). we are still not entirely certain if he is colour blind or just being a little stubborn. i thought he didn't know the alphabet, or his numbers, until i walked in on him singing the alphabet or counting to ten. i think colours might be the same. he knows it, he just doesn't want me to know he knows it. a man of mystery, that's cohen.
7. he has taken to climbing into our bed every night. at first he was discovered creeping in and promptly hugged and placed back into his own bed, but through practice it would seem he has perfected the skill of stealth. he somehow sneaks his way in to our room, lifts the covers, and then snuggles in beside me. that is where i find him every morning, his breath hot on my cheek. this sneaking and sleeping coincided almost exactly with ada starting to sleep in her crib. i am beginning to think it is territorial.
8. he loves the word and the practice of snacks. no, SNACKS! 4-5 times a day he gleefully announces that it is snack time and then proceeds to rifle through cupboards or the fridge (new fridge, tough seal, thought we could keep him out but he figured it out within two weeks. now he pulls so hard the door swings open and he flies into the stove). luckily he is happy to accept healthy snacks, no question though, he is going to be one of those teenagers that eats you out of home.
9. he hasn't shown any interest at all in making decisions when it comes to what he is wearing. i ask him if he wants to wear the red shirt or the blue shirt and he shrugs and says "yes?".
10. he has a sweet tooth and acts irrationally when cake, ice cream, gelato or cookies are involved. it is like a little monster awakens within him and demands "more!" he gets this from his father.
11. today we got a free bag of play kitchen stuff off craigslist and one of the first things cohen did was grab himself a mug and sit down by us, we asked him what he was drinking to which he happily responded "beer!" and then he reached out his mug and tapped it on mine with a boisterous "cheers!" i guess our home brewing is starting to wear off on him.
12. he most often uses his left hand for colouring and eating. marko is left handed, but i think it is too soon to tell if he is going to be in the end.
13. he calls my dad papa. nothing interesting there except that no one told him to call him that, in fact we always called him grandpa, but then one day out of nowhere he decided he was papa and now that is all he will call him. i still haven't figured out where he even heard the word?
14. he calls me grandma. seriously. he also calls my mom grandma. it has been going on for nearly 2 months. every day, 20 times i say, "i am not grandma, i am mommy", to which he responds with a "hurry grandma, come quick, trains off the track". i am trying to not make a big deal out of it and hope that it passes. i mean i know i have some grey, but really?
15. he is incredibly affectionate, insisting on hugs and kisses. he gives the best hugs of anyone i know. tight arms around the neck and a squeeze with a little nuzzle into my neck. hands down this is the thing i will miss the most when he grows up and doesn't feel like hugging anymore, because of that i take as many a day as i can.

10 months
15 things about ada

1. today she took her first unassisted steps. it was only two in a row but she kept getting up to try again and again. any day now she will be off and running.
2. she loves to eat. the only thing she doesn't like so far is green beans. her preference is little pieces on her tray which she can grab by the handful and stuff down her gullet. when she really likes something she claps.
3. speaking of clapping, she starts clapping whenever you play music (well that and bopping up and down) or if you sing paddy cake (she is even working on her "roooooollll it"). she loves music.
4. she waves goodbye only it is this more like a wiggle goodbye, she takes her fingers and crunches them into her palm and jiggles them, not moving her actual hand at all. it is significantly less weird looking then how i just described it.
5. she is in love with her brother. he climbs in the playpen and puts her in a headlock to smush her against the side mesh and she bursts into the loudest laugh, sometimes verging on squealing. she admires him in a way i wasn't sure was possible. they are going to be good friends.
6. she loves the bath, but insists on standing up, so they are usually much shorter than she would like.
7. she can let out a seriously loud fart for such a small thing. cracks me up every time.
8. she says mama and dada and tonight it sounded like she said ba ba (bye bye) on her way to bed. fingers crossed she ends up being a early talker, i think it would be much less frustrating for everyone.
9. she is wearing size 12-18 months clothing now. based on the way clothes fit her, i think she has really long legs for her age.
10. she is a pincher. i am pretty sure that she shows her affection by hurting the people she loves. my tummy and chest are covered with little cuts from her nails, kneading away as she drinks milk. grandma and baka have also been covered in cuts, necks, faces, arms. her love knows no bounds.
11. she loves to hang out with the shoes by the front door. she will pick up hers or cohen's shoes and try and put them on her feet. when she is not there doing that, she is often found dragging someone's shoe along behind her as she travels around the house.
12. she is shy and will play strange with new people. this took me by surprise as cohen wasn't shy at all, he has always been pretty outgoing, ada is more of a thinker. she needs to assess you before committing to anything like a touch. her affections are all the more sweeter though for having to be earned.
13. she sleeps on her tummy with her bum in the air and snores a tiny delicate snore. galena,who sleeps every night under her crib, also snores. it is the sounds of these two that lulls me to sleep.
14. she is fairly even mannered, not overly happy, but not miserable either, kind of like a pessimist with hope. her smiles don't come easy. she gets that from her mother.
15. she is coddled far less than cohen was and is permitted to do so much more, because of this she is growing up so much faster than he did. that makes me sad and yet also excited for the future.


list of good things

out for a hike

watching dexter late at night with marko. we used to love to watch tv on dvd's, constantly searching for new shows to devour. it has been a long time since we have made the time for it. i am not sure what i think about dexter, but i think that is it's appeal, the uncertainty. i do know that i think about it during the day when i am not watching it, and that i can't wait for the kids to go bed so that i can watch another. i guess that means i like it, and yet at the same time i am pretty sure that i don't. we have only watched six episodes, maybe it is too soon to tell.

cbc radio 2 drive. i know, i know, it wasn't too long ago that i said i didn't like the cbc. turns out i just wasn't listening to it at the right time. i fell in love with the drive and rich terfry's voice a few weeks ago now, and then a few days ago i saw an ad for it on tv, you can imagine my delight when i realized that he looks like this. i also didn't realize that he was buck 65, which goes to show you how out of touch i am with canadian music these days.

marko's home made porter, which i have been drinking at least a bottle a day of for the last two weeks. it is easily as good as store bought. soon it will be gone and that will be sad. i hope the next batch, this time a traditional ale, is just as good. it should be ready any day.

the return of sunny, albeit still chilly, days. this morning i asked cohen if he wanted to go for a walk, he promptly replied "yes!", a revelation within itself as lately he wants nothing to do with leaving the house, and then he said "beach!", despite the distance i promptly took him up on his suggestion. it was great to be out in the salty air.

ada falling into slumber with ease and grace every night the last couple of weeks. this is in sharp contrast with her napping which has been grueling at best. some days she won't nap at all, not 5 minutes, a protest for being left out of something fun i am sure. we have resorted to much crying as it was starting to seem inhumane to keep her awake all day. i am hoping she tires of the fight and lays her head easier in the coming weeks, but at night she couldn't be different. i lay her in the crib at the designated time and she rolls onto her tummy, closes her eyes, and sleeps. it's that easy. sometimes she even sleeps all night, something i really didn't think was possible. i always assumed those people who claimed it to be true were just liars trying to show off. if she does wake up it is just once and then right back after some milk. it's important to acknowledge the good with the bad, so ada's sleeping at night, it's good.

our new fridge. the old one was from the early 80's i'm sure. it was rusted and leaked, not to mention the fact that it froze almost all of the food within it. it needed to go. after much bartering back and forth with the owner of the house it was settled and i went to home depot to pick a new one out. i have had it three weeks now and it is still as exciting as the day i got it. i threw out all the old bottles and jars that had been opened 5 years ago. it was time to make a fresh start. we'll see how long that lasts.

this vintage coat i bought at an antique market with silvija for $10. it is made in england and is 100% wool. it might be the cutest girls jacket i have ever seen. i can't believe it was so inexpensive.

the song kids by mgmt. i heard it on the drive and i couldn't get it out of my head. i downloaded it when i got home and i now listen to it 3 times a day. cohen likes to shake his bum bum (his words, not mine) to it and ada bops up and down. sometimes we watch the video on youtube as well. cohen tries to imitate the dancing. good times.

the tenth and final good thing is that it only took me 5 minutes to think of 10 good things in my life. i think i should do this more often.


watch your back, it's wet out there

baths! together!

ok, after this i swear i will cool it with the poladroid, for at least a week anyway. i have to ask though, why is nostalgia so damn appealing?

i took this one tonight. the kids often have baths together now. more nostalgia i suppose. there were many reasons why i knew i wanted more than one child. i think the biggest one was cohen's social tendencies, his need for companionship. there is no question that ada's arrival was one of the greatest things in his life so far. quick to hug and kiss and slow to scorn, they have become fast friends. i laugh at how grown up she seems at this age compared to him. constantly mimicking her older brothers actions, she eats more food from the table and seems to understand so much more around her then i thought was possible.

in the afternoons when we get up from naps we have a cuddle puddle, an awful term to be sure, but i said it once and it has stuck. we all lie in one big pile and cuddle, our eyes half open, still mostly asleep. cohen often lets out big sighs of contentment while ada squeals with delight. it truly is something to behold, and makes up ten fold for the four o'clock crying festival which often proceeds the dinner time all hell breaking loose. the money is in the cuddle puddle, that and the night time bath.

i remember having baths with my brother. it isn't just from photos i remember either, i remember from actual recollection. i loved having a brother, no, i love having a brother. i love everything about it, even the really awful stuff. i love knowing that there is someone else out there who understands, who was there. family vacations, tree fort expeditions, lemonade stands and road trips to relatives for christmas. they were there. my brothers. that is the other reason i had more than one. i just couldn't imagine it any other way.

i hope that ada and cohen grow up close, that i am able to nurture that and see it grow. i know it will have it's challenges as they get older, more stubborn in their ways, but if i do it right it will work and then they will have what i have, the warm blanket of always knowing that no matter they will always have a best friend.

in case the photo wasn't enough, here is some video.


like looking through a fogged mirror

in years gone by baka has indulged me and spent most of her evenings knitting various things for the kids. the first year, when cohen was but a babe, it was fairly ridiculous. last year it was more reasonable, but still, i took full advantage of her incredible talent. lately though her hands have been having trouble and knitting isn't as fun as it used to be, so this year she made me the cowl and a sweater/hat for ada, and then she asked if i would like her to sew something instead. it didn't surprise me to learn that she could sew as well as she knit, old world ways i guess. when she was a young women she went to special classes to learn these things, darning socks, hemming skirts, mending towels with blanket stitches, all things she has done here at my house for us, things that make me shake my head and ask, why not just buy new socks? lazy in my new world ways i guess. i have come to appreciate it all the same though, especially when i find an old sweater, the one i loved but had long since relegated to the top of the closet because of the unsightly hole in the sleeve, as good as new and neatly folded on the bed. i wish i had more "everything old is new again" and less "out with the old and in with the new". i suspect there is some philosophy in there somewhere.

so she asked and i happily accepted the offer of some sewing for ada. we bought tracing paper and i pulled out and washed up fabric, we talked pleats, debated over button vs zipper, and then baka fell ill. the last week she was here she was quite sick, lying in bed moaning sick. everyone but me got it, but baka got it worst. so it didn't look like it was going to happen, the sewing, but in true form she pulled out the machine on her last full day here and set to work (don't worry, she was finally on the mend). the idea was that i would watch closely, learn. i have been talking about making ada clothes since the day she was born. a girl! alright, i can make a dress! it has never happened though and to be honest i am pretty sure my sewing isn't up to speed for it, i probably could have used some of those eastern european home maker classes.

the problem was that trying to watch your mother in law design/cut/pin/baste, and sew a dress while watching out for two small children, one of whom is snotty and grouchy and insists on being carried and talked to, is akin to swimming with cement shoes, it is possible but only with the most determined perseverance and even then it is only for a short while. i did manage to pop in and see the things i was the most troubled about, the hem around the neck and arms, the pleat and the general assembly prior to basting. i think i learned enough to at least attempt a go on my own, and i got a pretty cute dress out of it in the end as well. i could tell that silvija was pleased with the result, she couldn't stop smiling, and immediately asked me to take a picture of ada in it so that she could remember. i wish i had a perfect shot of ada standing up straight in it so that you could get the whole picture, but i don't. it is grey wool, a fabric that i bought two years ago now because i fell in love with it and i knew that some day i would find something to make with it. i am so glad i did. when she was finished and saw ada in it she laughed and said that next year she will do much sewing. i can't wait.


with my own two hands

baka went home this afternoon. every year when she goes i feel this strange mix of emotions, sad at the emptiness she leaves behind and relieved to have the space back, the routine. i have more to say about her visit, about the wonderful things she made, adventures we had, but i am thinking i should go to bed early tonight as i am back to 6 am starts (if i'm lucky) tomorrow and it is already past 10.

the photo up above features the toque my friend nicole made and a cowl made by silvija. nicole had made herself a toque i fell in love with, so with some cajoling she agreed to make me one (i really have to learn to knit). not knowing how much wool to buy i overdid it, and found myself with an extra ball in the end. when i showed baka some photos of cowls i was coveting on etsy she insisted on making me one to match the toque, complete with the enormous wooden buttons i had lying around waiting for a use. i think that silvija and i make a great team when it comes to hand made treasures, me full of ideas, her great at the execution. there is nothing like hand made things for kids (or me for that matter!).

i also thought it was about time for some new video, this one is of ada engaging in her favourite past time right now. she went on for another five minutes after the tape stopped rolling, i think she may turn out to be a bit of a talker.


hitting the snooze button and making it stick

i only have a handful of blogs that i follow on a consistent basis. they are mainly comprised of people i know outside of the computer, and people who found me here and commented at one time or another. it would seem that i am a rather poor citizen of the blogging community. i don't really have a good excuse for it either, other than the fact that i spend most of my aimless internet surfing time gawking at random photos of complete strangers on facebook. don't lie, you totally do it to. so why do i mention it now?

well i mention it because it seems that everywhere i look this week the blogs are talking about sleep. needing it, missing it, loving it, overdoing it, and all this sleep talk has me feeling a little sheepish. a little too happy at my good fortune. i hesitate to put it out there for fear of retribution, but what the hell, nothing wrong with a little gratitude, right?

you see, marko's mom is here again this month. she makes the pilgrimage from croatia once a year and stays for an extended visit. one year it was for one month, and then last year for two. two years ago i was on maternity with cohen and it was nice to have the company, we took turns cooking and together we went for many walks and drank many cappuccinos (well, actually, make mine a latte). a month was too short. then last year i was back at work and we didn't have that time. she was generous and would always cook dinner before we returned from work, helpful to be sure, but i missed cooking. i also missed having that one on one time with cohen at night, i was at work all day, i needed him as much as she did. two months was too much. this year we have found the balance again.

silvija, or baka as she is known around here, is an early riser, usually sometime between 6:30 and 7. she just can't sleep past that time, it isn't part of her wiring. as it turns out ada also has this wiring, wiring that would have me pulling out my hair were it not for baka. our routine, the one i am so grateful for these days, has me waking for the day with ada sometime around 6, feeding her and then letting her poke my eyes or pull my hair until baka wakes up and comes to get her. then i tuck myself in and go back to sleep. i know, i am a bastard. to be fair though, things have been rough with the toddler the last couple of weeks. the last 3 nights he has woken up 3 times during the night. last night we even caved in and squeezed all four of us into our queen size bed, our necks and legs cramped by morning. so it hasn't been a total picnic, but close.

she takes ada and feeds her breakfast, and when cohen wakes up around 8, she feeds him too. i usually sleep soundly until 9, a couple of times even 10. i don't wake to anyone needing me, or screaming, just a couple of kids playing and a pot of coffee. who needs mexico when you have a baka around?

her and ada have become fast friends, and so she puts ada down for all her naps and at night too. she feeds her and changes her, and kisses her little cheeks plenty as well. i am already scheming on how i can make her stay longer, and dreading the 22nd when she goes home. it hasn't been long enough. not by a long shot. i don't know how i am going to cope when it goes back to just being me. i am trying not to think about it and instead just enjoying these last two weeks of sleep, and calm (sort of).

so there, that's my post about sleep. come back in a month, i am sure i will be singing a different tune.