October 31, 2010

In costume.


Gray found a safari vest and zoo hat in the playroom and we planned this whole elaborate idea of him dressing up face-painted as an escaped tiger that ate a zoo keeper and then put on his clothes and was pretending to work there and then would unlock all the animal cages and set them free.

Then a few minutes later he said, nah, I want to be Tuck. Go Wonderpets!

I was knitting that hat until two minutes before we left for trick or treating.

the four, trick or treat

Someone said "it's Super Grover!" A green tin man? With a cape? Eventually he would pass people and say matteroffactly "Turtle" and walk on.

super gray

and they're off

treat bucket


Carter & Noah used props they already had and went as football and hockey players. I knit Tuck's hat and he already had his cape, a Christmas present I bought on etsy last year. Ivy was a last minute addition, wearing the fairy wings I wore last year. She was our sweet butterfly.

The way she closed her eyes and stood so still while I put on her makeup... more sugar on my heart than a million overflowing trick-or-treat buckets.


October 30, 2010


crazy eyes

We don't necessarily [air quotes] celebrate


but we carve pumpkins and roast seeds and bake pumpkin-cream cheese muffins
and the kids dress up using things we have around the house and visit our neighbors to say hi and get free candy.

5 little pumpkins



I have
never in all my years felt so welcome and embraced entering into fall
than I do right now.


October 29, 2010

The Flying Ivy

flying ivy

we just got home from a very very
very good day

no news or anything,
just a time of being absolutely

October 28, 2010

thinking out loud

windblown tree face

We haven't turned the heat on yet. It's getting colder and colder here. The warm still tags along with the afternoon sun until the snow clouds settle in. That's how it starts, this flawinter.

I stood in my grandparents' kitchen and made them dinner, and bread. And I tried to think of ways I could take care of them. Move in with them? Move them into my house?

They have a window above their sink. I've always wanted a window above my sink.

We could sell all our things, and

I think about my things

and how my style is my style and my quirks and so what if I can't display "my style"

is it really that necessary?

All that we need is shelter, if that, for that we should be so thankful.

And would my life have less meaning if I had less things?

Would my life have room for more meaning if I




I sucked big time as a mom tonight. Like, totally set myself up for a win by rocking it the whole day and then boom! crash! clang! owww! I totally failed. Maybe the fall was more dramatic because I'd come from such a high. Whatever. I know I'm not really a bad mom, but I also can recognize when I am. And I was in that moment. I hate it. I want a do over.

Now I'm going to go whisper sorries in my sleeping children's ears.

October 27, 2010

autumn glitter

fall time

Yesterday I chased a whole group of marathoners down the street in my car, crisp hands waving in the air, they moved so fast tumbling and pointy legs running.

It's God's autumn glitter

Gusty mini tornadoes

fingerpaint the landscape.


4 on a log

October 26, 2010

Building Up The Temple

My Mommal used to sing that to me, with the hand motions fist upon fist. I love when she does it with Ivy now. Grandmother hands shaky and beautiful.

Working hands

There's a windstorm coming. Our house crackles and the kids think squirrels got in our walls. I worry about the spider and her web on the front porch. I hope she can hang on.

Building up the temple

We go to a parade in my hometown on the fourth of July. And we always park on the same street in front of my cousins' grandmother's house. Then we pile up all our candy-catching bags and bottled waters and camp chairs and walk around the corner to find a good spot on the street to watch the parade.

And every year, the man that lives in the house on the corner ropes off his yard and the road on each side, and he sits cross-armed and brooding. He guards his grass and I guess the city street that might bring a car or festive passerby to walk too closely to his property.

We walk around the barrier and holding breath look at our feet, our hands firm with grip on the children, keeping them in line.

That man will train his eyes on the lawn, a piece of land that in months will be covered with leaves, and then dead under snow. That man will sit justified, and he will miss the parade.

We go on, every year, and we think huffy-judgy thoughts as he must the same of us.

Who do I want to be am I created to be in this life?

A man, guarding his lawn and missing out on the whole parade? His treasure, he can not take it with him.

A parade-goer that keeps her glance averted, moving along to her party without incident, pretending he's not there? Shuffle, avoid. Repeat as necessary.

Cast another character,

who meets his grump-eye and compliments his beautiful yard. Wishes him well, offers him a drink? A wave? A smile?

An even though you don't get me I'm going to try to understand your heart from now on nod?

I want to be that one next year.

And every moment until then.

I sweep ten times a day and yet

am still guaranteed a renegade crumb will stick to the bottom of my foot

every time.

October 25, 2010

I'm not even kidding.


I knit this for Beth's Eli. You know, Eli the BABY with a baby head?

This is what happens when you have the right pattern but wrong materials. Or the wrong pattern with the right materials. Or a bad knitter.

Whatever. Again I am certain this common knitting mistake is a perfect teachable moment for my life as is everything I put my hand or mind to lately (please do not even read that as sarcasm,


I'm not kidding, I am starting to cherish these lessons


hey man, at least I finished what I started.)

October 23, 2010

There should be more parties

noah & chloe
my noah + love's chloe

Tonight we celebrated with Love's family and friends

Clayton is forever home.

love & clay forever home
Love reached $5,000 for her well, too!

I'm happy when good things bring people together

we celebrate and enjoy and delight and laugh and meet and share

cotton candy

...there should be more cotton candy, too.

October 22, 2010

they looked up, rockets!

they looked up, rockets!

making smoke stripes would they crash?

planes on a journey.

there is so much more

to my soul my heart my life

I can't- I must go.

let's go

we could live out here

autumn afternoon your sun
is like a sweater

share your haiku- too.

October 21, 2010

more than just whimsy, things I will do someday

sheet music
original score by Carter

I want to fill our home with books that we will actually read, and music instruments that we will actually play, or learn to play

For Christmas I'm going to have my guitar re-strung, and search freecycle and resale shops for a djembe (african drum), or some bongos, and Gray really wants a ukulele. How I'd love to have a piano again so I can teach them all to play.

Someday, I want to have a party, like,

with tons of mismatched tables and chairs outside in my big back yard that sometimes in my dreams it is in the heart of Chicago, and other times it's out in the country in a forest somewhere. Both settings have lights, and amazing Mediterranean food, and people I love - I'll invite absolutely everyone I know but only the people that are meant to be there will show up. I close my eyes and see the guests at their seats in
Chocolat, and the music like the reception from Rachel's Getting Married. And it might last a weekend, not just one night. Here's the one whimsy- I'll wish for it to never end.

October 20, 2010

Orange Hot Chocolate

orange hot chocolate

We had orange hot chocolate with our cookies last night.

[It tasted a little like lip gloss?]

There's banana bread baking in the oven now (that I can not wait to smother in almond butter), all of which I had some help from each of my children
as we rocked out to Sgt Pepper's before two left for school and two stayed behind for a little while longer.

The early autumn sun glows onto my laundry basket- I'm tempted to take a picture it's so beautiful. The bowls and spoons from baking await my hand-wash with a comforting domestic livelihood,

and the cliff I had been teetering at for the past few days

no longer feels as if I'm here to fall-off,

I've decided I'll fly-away



We have winners!

The Vintage Pearl $75 gift certificate winner is... Hestermania!
The handknit-by-me fingerless gloves winner is... Zdub

(I'll share what I chose to put on my bracelet when it comes, and as of this posting, Love has raised $3,274 and is only $1,726 away from her birthday goal! Thank you thank you!)

October 19, 2010

On the best intentions

love-picked by gray's hand

Sometimes a gift from the heart will turn out to be a beautiful weed.

See also:

October 18, 2010

I sometimes get some things right.

babywearing reflection
baby-wearing while errand-ing today

Gray's attitude was
for the birds this morning. Everything made him cry.

Possibly my best parenting-method yet? I told him,
I think YOU need a piece of chocolate*!

Yes, it was 8:30 in the morning.

So what.

It worked.

*other alternatives: a hug, a trip to the park, a dance party in the kitchen, drinks with whipped cream, a book in my lap, my attention, my attention, my attention.

October 17, 2010

This Is The Story Of Love's Birthday Present

loves 31

I had planned to post on my friend Love's actual birthday (yesterday) but nothing - and I mean nothing- went my way yesterday. Well, unless you count hubs agreeing to finally watch Chocolat with me last night, and liking it as much as I do. But everything else?

I don't want to talk about it.

Thanks for not bringing it up. Ever.

This is Love's 31st birthday weekend. And I made her these welted fingerless gloves.


It was a new pattern, and one of my most challenging so far. I originally chose a different color and yarn entirely, but after knitting up the first glove it didn't feel right. So I grabbed a pretty blue from my big knitting chest and stayed up until two in the morning the other night to knit a pair.

I loved them, but my tired heart sank; they weren't meant to be Love's.

I went to the knitting shop and found a color I thought she'd like better, and knit them while I waited for my car to finally be repaired at the service center.

When I got home, I still wasn't happy with my work and took it all off the needles and started again.

By now, I know the pattern by heart. And I just finished them, a day late, but they are done. They are handmade, so they have noticeable flaws. But they were made with love, for Love.

[This story is painfully quite the metaphor for many things in my life right now. Can't escape it, even in my art.]


More importantly, Love's only wish for her 31st birthday is to bring water to people that need it. It's $31 to make a big difference, (or even $13, or $1, or your kindest thoughts and prayers to help Love reach her birthday goal.)

Now, about those gloves that weren't Love's. I can't make you give to Charity Water to be entered to win them, but I can certainly encourage you to think about it and consider giving if you can. And if you comment here, no matter if you can give or not, (you don't need to tell me either way) you'll be entered to win the blue gloves with a half-moon button.

water moon shine

I'll choose a winner (I'll ship to anywhere) sometime this week. (I'll let you know here when I do.)

And hopefully I'll have some good news about Love reaching her goal.

Happy Birthday, Love.

*Winner is Zakary (Zdub) ! :)

October 16, 2010

When I can't find my words: The Vintage Pearl Giveaway

i heart these vintage lovebirds

I need help deciding.

I am really drawn to this sterling cuff from The Vintage Pearl.

But I am absolutely stumped as to what I should put on it. I was thinking of maybe a French word or short saying. Or a word or two that would inspire me every day when I wear it.

You know me. What should it say?

The Vintage Pearl is gifting me the bracelet and is also offering a $75 gift certificate for me to giveaway.

If you feel an idea for what I could put on my bangle (a short phrase? a powerful word?) , please leave a comment (including a way for me to contact you) and let me know.

Or let me know what you'd get if you win. Or say whatever you feel like saying. Just comment if you'd like to be entered to win the $75 gift certificate. It's easy like that.

This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide. I'll randomly choose and announce the winner on Wednesday morning.

You can also find The Vintage Pearl blogging, facebooking, newslettering, and twittering around here.

*Winner is Hestermania!

October 14, 2010

buried treasure

up and down and up and down alldaylong

The most exciting thing I got to do today was laundry. There is no teachable moment in this (that I know of) (we shall see) nothing more, nothing less.

I packed up the kids' warm weather clothes and made room for jeans and sweaters. Found a ton of garbage under my bed. (Literally, garbage.) (Like tissues and tags and broken happy meal toy stuff, not anything nasty!)

But, nothing exciting under there, like maybe I hoped I'd find, to make this day monumental. No money. No missing lovey Ivy's been looking for.

There was nothing on TV or netflix that I wanted to fold to. There was plenty to do or read or clean but I didn't feel like any of it was any fun. Even knitting. The mail came and even it was boring. Blah.

on the laundry pile

Related to my day/life:
Ivy always climbs into my laundry baskets. (empty or full.)

Also, I can never find my laundry baskets come laundry gathering time. Where in the world do they all go? Did they run off with the match to
every single pair of Gray's new socks? Oh, bother. They are probably in the backyard tied to Carter's skateboards. With my "good" yarn.

I mope around and fuss with another sink full of dishes and a constant leaky faucet and try to spice up our day with music and whipped cream on our drinks. Gray says,
I love hanging out with you, Mommy and I think- he calls this hanging out?

My mundane life and feeling like a nobody and no fun and yet to them... well, you know.

To them I am not a nobody That's for sure.

sleepy time
right next to me

[I find it. It's dull somedays, so I have to shine it.]

October 13, 2010

Fall on me.

ivy in a leaf crown

Gray picked out the two ugliest pumpkins in the bin. I love that about him.

[Ivy's leaf crown inspired by... this post.

[Find out what we did with our pumpkins... here.]


sad nose

I was at the zoo last week and observed the other moms; [honestly, subconsciously pretty much wherever I am I look for my kind.] If my brain doesn't mean to do it, my heart does it anyway.

Someone like me.

I can usually tell- we all wear a uniform- and in this sea of criticizing eye squints, teeny tiny yoga-classed-fit bodies in skinny jeans and trendy tops with their designer diaper bags and matching children,

I saw

who I used to be. I used to play that part. We all do in some way. If we fake it then maybe people will believe it. Maybe we'll even start to believe it ourselves.

red nose

I felt a little melancholy and I felt alone.

Then I thought, what if I'm the one that people are searching for in the crowd, to find their kind?


They'll see many imperfections, and many good intentions, [and- obvs- many insecurities] and feel like




happy nose

October 12, 2010

Squirrels in my bathroom.

bathroom reflection

I finally did something about our downstairs bathroom. Remember my updated upstairs bathroom? Hard to top the ruffled shower curtain (that I still love dearly) but I found that, thanks to my patient waiting (ok, procrastination), Target has a pretty decent selection of shower curtains & clearance sales now (I wasn't into anything they had last spring.)

Way back then I bought the squirrel prints by Ryan Berkley on etsy and it's taken me this long to figure out frames and the rest of the colors I wanted to go with. I still would love your thoughts on what color I should paint in there. It's tiny, and also has no window, hence the not so great photos.


I'd love to paint this room and then finally move on to the playroom across the small hallway- we already have the paint for the playroom that I lovesomuch- it's going to be robin's egg blue and this awesome pink-orange spice color. So what could I paint the bathroom that would compliment that? And not be too loud or too much, you know?

squirrels in my bathroom

Also, according to Ivy, that's her and Gray in the illustrations. Aren't they adorable?

October 11, 2010

Hit Something

gray birthday

I am coming off a weekend that did not feel like a weekend to me at all. Do "weekends" exist for mothers? I have found that they do not. What in the world me and all these children that have birthdays? Gah. Reprieve!

We had Gray's birthday party yesterday. He had a blast. We stuffed and hung a piñata and everything. I remember thinking in the past who buys these things and then wonders why people get hurt? For the record, only Carter got caught in the bat-swinging crossfire, and he was fine.


(We had originally worried not everyone would get a chance before it burst open but it ended up after many kid turns that the adults had to beat it open in the end.)

(It was fun. Piñatas are totally worth it.)

(Also, they are refreshingly... violent?)


We do no disposables for our parties- means lots of dishwashing and laundry but that's just normal life. We don't have matching drinking glasses or plates, which comes in handy because everyone knows which one is theirs. Win!

It just so happens to be 4:30 am right now and I am (duh) awake in bed with Ivy, Gray, and Carter (all also awake) watching cartoons . And I'm trying to hold myself them off from raiding the kitchen for cupcakes and leftover pizza at least until normal morning time.

gray birthday #5

Update. We are now all eating sticky homemade popcorn balls and individual-sized bags of chips. In my bed.

Now this feels like a weekend. Only it's Monday before-the-sun-is-even-up morning. I'll take it.

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