March 31, 2011

Small Style: Hand Knit Edition


Before I tell you about what she's wearing, I have to tell you a couple funny things Ivy did this week.  I guess she was trying to nurse the other night in bed while I was deep asleep. Jeff said I told her no (I do not recall this) and she dramatically proclaimed, "You never give me nah-nap anymore!" (For the record, yes I do.)

Yesterday afternoon my in-laws watched all the kids for me while I met with the videographer for Listen To Your Mother (our meeting went great- so excited p.s. tickets are on sale now here!) and when we were getting ready I heard Ivy say something about showing Grandma her new pink purse and taking Grampa a turkey sandwich. I assumed she meant her play food. Side note: she had turkey for lunch.

We arrive at Grandma & Grandpa's and soon my father-in-law says look what Ivy brought for me! Turkey deli meat wrapped neatly in a paper towel, kept in her new pink purse since lunch time.

I finished knitting the tunic above just a few minutes ago. It was much more difficult than I had thought it would be but it didn't help that my needles came out of a whole row of tricky stitches and so I had to improvise for a while until I could get somewhat back on track. Also, I was over half-way through when I realized I was knitting it for a size smaller than I had planned! Oh well, it turned out awesome anyway. (I had originally wanted it to be a longer dress, but instead it's more like a tunic/top.)

tunic- "fiona's top" handknit by me
jeans- tea collection (carrot fit denim pants)

robot sweater

This is one of my favorite outfits Ivy has been wearing lately. The sweater is one I knit a long time ago for Gray with the infamous retro robot buttons. Now it's her fave. And the overalls are still the cutest thing ever.

sweater: handknit by me
mushroom tunic: misha lulu
painter's overalls: tea collection

Knitting patterns & info can be found on my ravelry page- I'm babywearknittery.

[Linking up with my favorite Small Style!]

March 29, 2011

forks and spoons

I bought new silverware tonight. I had a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon, and they had a really cool deal where you can buy individual spoons and forks. I don't know why my garbage disposal keeps eating my spoons where all our spoons go. They must have run off with all the pens, and chapstick.

Anyway, I hung out with Noah today, all this reminded me of this post. I still can't believe that once was my life, and that once happened to my child. I'm certain it was a bad Lifetime movie. (No offense Lifetime movies, I'm still known to watch you. Like maybe today while I was knitting.)

Anyway. In a perfect (blog)world I could write about him every single day. And wish I could. But there isn't such a world, and the more I want to write about him the more I pause, and I am reserved to share only with certain confidantes. This is the way it should be.

Anyway, years later, the spoons were definitely not winning. So now we have more.

March 28, 2011

It feels like a Tuesday

handle with care

I was lost, and now I'm found. I couldn't get to my blog this morning and it was more than frustrating and phone calls and resolutions and here I am again. Maybe you didn't even notice. Well, good. Thankfully my personal chiropractor is on hand to work out the kinks and tension. I owe him like four Lego sets now.

It feels like a Tuesday. All day I kept thinking I forgot to put the garbage out. I feel like Monday drove a bit too fast and then slammed on the brakes, throwing its arm in front of me. The go-stop-go has me all edgy. We're almost through day one of spring break and everyone still has their limbs in tact. And scissors were involved.

Or maybe I'm all edgy because I'm riding the curb of the cliff a little too closely. Living on the edge is awesome

if you don't fall off.

But not living on the edge, planting your flag in the middle of the nowhere field, seems much farther from failure, doesn't it? 

Right now I am so far from that field. I think Listen To Your Mother stuff has got me nervous, just the fact that it's looking like it's going to go so well but one inch away is something falling through or falling apart. So pretty much all day I have to distract my mind from thinking about that possibility. Why do success and failure have to be such tight neighbors?

And, we just decided to search for a (new) church home and if you've been around here for awhile this might be a surprise (it kind of still is to me.) Edge > fingernails gripped and hanging on> big fall.

Admitting all that just sucks because on one hand I can look brave, with so many exciting things ahead. And on the other hand, I am failing. Because I'm admitting that I'm scared, because I'm confessing something I had believed in before just isn't working or has the potential to not work out. I was wrong. Or maybe I just didn't know. Isn't that a good enough answer?

March 27, 2011

BIG plans for no plans

run gray

It's the kids' spring break this week and we really have no plans. I wanted to do at least a little something special so we went to the zoo yesterday. (Here's where I remind everyone that it was 26 degrees in Chicago on our way up there.) But, we know how to bundle up and all I could see ahead of us was fresh, outside air. I didn't care how cold it was.


I was so tempted to save some of these photos for my April FOUR post but I am holding out for warmer weather. It has been known to happen on occasion.

A huge bonus to doing outdoor things in not-so-awesome-outdoor weather: you have the place all to yourselves.

jump skyline

We are still going to have fun this week but just no big plans looming overhead. I do hope to turn the playroom into Noah's room and transfer some toys down to the finished side of the basement (and hopefully transfer most of them to someone else's house via freecycle.) It will be Noah's first time rooming alone since he was a baby. (His request.) Carter & Gray will take the bunk beds in the boys room and we have BIG plans for Ivy to take over Gray's awesome firetruck bed. Did you get all that? Because there will be a quiz. Also, you know what this means? Time for another baby! JUST KIDDING.

Other than that, I'm not on spring break so I'll be working as usual and also putting some finishing touches on Listen To Your Mother stuff. Speaking of which, if you want to know more about my background in theater you can read my interview with Meagan Francis, Following a dream: a dedicated mom of four rekindles her love of the stage. Jazz hands!

Seriously. I was just kidding. Four is our magic number.


March 25, 2011

Mind Over Matter

I know you've been concerned and I just wanted to let you know that I got the ring off my finger.

It's been days now, and I passed by the bag of Pita Chips on my counter and sighed. I decided to give it another go, practically dismembering my Windex-coated hand. With a concentrated breathing technique and closed eyes I twisted that thing right off, well, thing is that I imagined it so vividly in my mind and thought I'd slid it right off and opened my eyes to see it hadn't even BUDGED. But I focused even harder and long story short it's off. I am not sure if my finger will always be this misshapen? And that skin will grow back. But all is well.

carter & Gray

Last night we took the kids to dinner. I truly do enjoy going out to eat, all six of us. Only, in this diner we didn't fit anywhere and had to take up two booths. And look how sweet Carter & Gray are.

Of course this was the very next shot. (Thankfully moments earlier I confiscated his knife.)

Carter & gray

March 24, 2011

Small Style: The Second Hand Edition

 second hand finds

I am crazy about all the textures of this dress. Sequins and feathers, vintage fabric and buttons. I want to hang it on the wall.

This get-up was an awesome score from The Second Child  this past weekend while out shopping with Sarah, Jen, Kate, & Casey. If you can believe it, I passed up a Misha Lulu outfit there. I KNOW. But one of the secrets of thrifting well is knowing when to say no... you'll love what you said yes to even more. (And no fun to hog all the goodies. What a fab find for the next person that came along!)

these boots were made for ivy

Like, I am so glad someone left these to find me. (True story: Ivy hugged and kissed those boots the first time they met.)

dress: ashor's room
boots: minnetonka

[Linking up with my favorite Small Style!]

March 23, 2011

The Elephant In My Blog Name

I miss it. Comes a time that you no longer have babies to wear.

Today I am guest posting here for Sling Fling Week- talking all about babywearing and how it changed for me through the years with each of my children.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to present a babywearing demo for Big City Belly in Chicago- you can read the beginner's guide to babywearing and my interview here. I also stand proud by this piece I wrote last year: Adventures In Babywearing 2.0.

So, I don't plan on changing my blog name. I'll keep on adding to the Babywearing Bloggers blogroll, and will always be in love with babywearing. Its beauty, its comfort, and the way it changed motherhood for me forever, beyond the baby.

It continues to be quite the adventure.

March 22, 2011

Oh my gosh I am so bored with myself right now.

It's not like there isn't plenty to do. If there were twenty of me that wouldn't be enough to do what needs to be done yet here I sit. Tired and bored.

I just cut up some mini watermelons for the kids. There's that.

This morning I was fixing oatmeal/cleaning the kitchen/getting towels from the basement/answering the phone when I nicked the corner of the counter with my wedding ring and ka-clink. My diamond was gone. Thankfully I have such immaculate floors spent twenty minutes on my stomach and found it had traveled all the way into the carpeted hallway.

So, yay, I have my diamond and boo I can not get my ring off. And yes I've tried freezing it/cold water/above my head/soap/oil/bath. I think the last time I even took it off was before I was pregnant with Ivy. I checked with our homeowner's insurance. They do not cover cutting the ring off my finger.

Good thing prongs are so in right now. Totally.

Last night I made the most awesome cupcake sandwiches (you know where you cut the cupcake in half and put the frosting in the middle to make it easier to individually wrap for the school bake sale?) and then a few hours later the two kids involved in the bake sale are throwing up. All night long. All night. I saw the clock at every hour. Until the sun came up, and beyond.

So, what would you do? You'd probably throw out those cupcakes, right? I mean, everyone in this house except for Jeff has now been stricken by this bug in the past few days so it's likely I could get the whole school sick, eh? All those cupcakes = trash them?

How am I going to get this ring off my finger?

March 20, 2011

This Guy


Gray was really sick- we tagged-teamed it actually, I was so sick and had finally fallen asleep and then you know that sound. I was up no matter how awful I felt and there I was comforting and cleaning and bathing. He called for me and I was there, and then some.

We both were so relieved when morning came. Look, Mommy! It's light out! He said so sincerely, thank you for taking such good care of me last night.

It's not always thank-less, I guess. Yet I'm stunned at the heart of a five year old boy.

He's the reason I became The Babywearer. He may be the third of four but he shines and is heard and I do believe he thinks he is number one. That shirt was one of a few treasures I brought home from a day of shopping in the city. He loves it, which means more to me than you know. No tag, super soft, The Beatles!, good collar, and nice sleeves. It's not too shirty. It's his favorite. And according to him, makes me the best mom ever. And then some.

March 18, 2011

Ty(p)ing Up Loose Ends

Noni Cinch bag - knit- felt

I finally finished The Bag. It took forever to knit, then I had to felt it and then wait for it to dry and shape (for days.) I made up the braided handle pattern myself and am so happy how it turned out. The part I was most scared of but ended up being my most favorite of all? Attaching the hardware. Wow. I need to hammer things more often.

Knit/felted braided handle

And this skirt was a dress I had decided to knit at random with all my scrap yarns.

handmade skirt

I got all the way to the top and just wasn't happy with it, so I ripped it all out down to the skirt (the part I did like) and so there you have it. I do the same with my writing, among other things.

knit skirt

Finally, I am excited to announce that my Listen To Your Mother show has secured a sponsor- an incredibly awesome local one that I will officially confirm when I know that I can. Things are falling into place in almost a too-good-to-be-true fashion but I'm riding that wave. I hope to have tickets on sale soon. For now they will be available online with possible opportunities to purchase in person or on the day of the show if we don't sell out.

I really want every seat to be filled.

These stories are going to take the audience through a beautiful journey. They'll laugh, they'll cry, they'll feel, and I know they will be inspired. How I need your help: Invite everyone you know- women, men, teens, - everyone will get it. Like Listen To Your Mother on Facebook. (This is an easy way to share with your friends and family, too.)

And if you aren't local, please attend one of the other Listen To Your Mother shows playing nationally in April & May. Are you near Austin, L.A., Spokane, or Madison? Save the dates! (My show is May 7, 7PM in Valparaiso at the historic Memorial Opera House.) I will definitely announce when tickets are on sale here as well as on the Listen To Your Mother site, Facebook and Twitter.


I am still writing over at NWIparent- see the latest: Park Days Are Here Again! And I am excited to be working on a piece for the NWIparent section in the Times newspaper as well. I'll let you know what day to watch for it! I continue to write daily at Real Moms Guide as well (please note that my pen name is "Steph"; there's another writer at RMG that goes by Stephanie!) I haven't been linking lately but what the hay, here's a few of my recent posts:

I absolutely love my job.

Knitting & pattern details can be found on Ravelry. I'm BabywearKnittery.

March 17, 2011

Small Style: The "hot chick"

small style

I have no intentions to get all Suri Cruise up in here but Ivy totally styled this whole outfit herself, top to shoes. We went to see my Mommal (she's doing great btw) and Ivy made sure she saw her pretty bow. Mommal said, "Ivy, you are one hot chick!"

PS have I ever mentioned that my middle name is Ruth, after Mommal? Her name is Iva Ruth. And then there's Ivy LaRue.


candy cane tunic- misha lulu (my fave!) via the mini social
leggings- le big via zulily
shoes- l'amour via zulily

We're participating in Small Style again this week. I am loving this weekly prompt!

PPS this entire outfit top to shoes was also free thanks to store credit/referrals.

March 16, 2011

Guess how much I love you

Noah texted me last night some things he needed for today and so there I push a cart through the store at 11:38 PM. I'm tired, the stoplight won't turn green, it's rainy, and I don't really want to be here. I want to be home warm in bed.

But I do. It's what we do. It's how we get through. We don't really have a choice.

I've found that as they get older, which has become so glaringly apparent quite recently, the stuff I know we need to talk about usually comes up in conversation. Things I've worried about, like random stuff or if we are guiding them enough spiritually have been on my heart, but I don't know how to bring it up so that it's natural, how do I know if they are ready to hear. Yesterday Carter asked me all about baptism, and so, that was pretty cool. I know it all doesn't always fall into place this way but... when they ask questions and whether I'm ready or not the honest answer always ends up the right answer.

No one prepared me for this. You just can't. And on top of that each kid is so different. It's also what makes these years so exciting.You get past all the "milestones" and pretty soon it's just one really big milestone. But for real, it's mostly fabulous.

I don't know if and when they'll ever realize the extra stuff I do, like always making sure their favorite shirt is in their drawer, cooking the foods they like, and going to the store late at night for the things they need so that it's there for them in the morning. That stuff is so anonymous, but it's what they can expect, and they should. They are just kids. You can prepare for their sense of security, but you have to do the time. And oft-times it feels like the least rewarding in the moment.

Though in the end it's way more impact-ful than those first smiles or first steps or first tooths.

My love is there, they can expect it without even knowing any different. "Love is spoken here" with and without words.

March 14, 2011

tiny needles

zsa mask

I'm knitting a top for Ivy with very tiny needles. It's really fun but so slow going. I feel like I spend an hour on just a couple rows. But I'll get there. And I think I like the look of small stitches much better vs. knitting with large needles and yarn. I guess I'll have to grow some patience. A friend shared this video with me and I might be a little obsessed. How amazing.

I made this Zsa "bat" mask for Ivy's boyfriend Asher, Gray kindly models the look. Ivy has requested one in pink.

March 12, 2011

Stage Mother

Tap shoes

Hand-me-down tap shoes, she'll never take them off.

Also, to Ivy "tap" means STOMP.

new hair cut

She got a hair cut. It's layered a bit and now out of her eyes. It grabs her curls more and stuff. So cute. I feel clueless when it comes to little girl hair. I think there is this unwritten rule that no one told me about. People freak if you cut it but am I supposed to keep it all stringy and un-shaped?  Oh PS it's just hair. And she's adorable.

The other day I had a frustrating butting-heads moment with Noah after school, and a complete breakdown in communication. This is exactly what I fear as he gets older, and there it was staring me in the face. Later the kids were painting at the table and instead of cleaning the kitchen nearby like I usually do, I sat down and painted with them.

Noah got emotional again when he smudged his painting a bit, and I tried to make him feel better by saying sometimes you just gotta work your mistake into your plan. Or something like that. Make it part of your art.

Soon, he spilled out what was bothering him. Something that happened at school. I realized -duh- art is his outlet and I need to remember this. We will be doing lots more painting. And mistaking.

March 10, 2011


this is it

This morning Gray sheepishly informed me that he knows that I go into his room and kiss him on the forehead when he's sleeping at night. I said, oh, I thought you were sleeping? And he said, I am, but I can feel your kiss.

Moments later he embarrassed the heck out of me at Target when he hugged the loaves on the Wonder Bread display and yelled SEAGULL BREAD! CAN WE GET SOME SEAGULL BREAD TO FEED THE BIRDS AND DUCKS AND GEESE?

In our house white bread isn't for people, it's [literally] for the birds. He doesn't know any different. Still, he could have been a bit more quiet about it. At least he didn't shout anything about MOMMY'S JUICE.

kiss kiss

March 8, 2011

a list for today


1. I finally filed our taxes this morning and it was like after crossing that off my list? I could do nothing the rest of the day. Only that was false. But my body didn't care and I've been listless and achy and incapable of doing anything else.

2. Kind of like I was yesterday when I cleaned the upstairs bathroom (so much so that hubby said he felt like he was in a hotel this morning) and so maybe that is why I am so achy.

3. My hair is pretty long. It is. I sometimes think about getting a super-cute, hip, shorter style, but don't want that as much as I want to keep it long. I have been asked a couple times if I am growing it to donate it. (That makes me reconsider the need for a new style.) But I actually hardly ever wear it in a pony tail any more, it's almost always down and I enjoy it. 

4. I wonder why long hair tends to be open to public commentary, like people will declare how long someone's hair has gotten and when are you going to cut it? Or like when a boy has long hair it's such a topic of discussion. (I happen to think boys are cute with long hair.) But I would never go up to a woman- or man- or child- and ask why their hair was so short?And why won't they grow it longer?

5. Yesterday I was feeling like a bad mom until I realized - in the middle of baking real live cookies for Gray's stuffed rhino's birthday and his party guests-  that I was a good mom in that moment most moments.

6. I have no energy to finish this list. I cleaned a bathroom, made cookies, and did my taxes. And it's only Tuesday.

edited to add 7. I scrounged up some energy to correct the typo in #1. You're welcome if you caught it.

March 7, 2011

I'm a professional at pretend.

For some reason I had this weird rule in my head that I need a photo with every post. When did that happen? And like if I don't, I won't have inspiration any other way.

Or maybe I just use it as distraction.

So that's probably why I sat down here with nothing to say at all. Plenty I wish I could, but I can't.

I can't. And I'm tired of the small talk.

I'm also tired of telling Noah to stop calling Gray names that start with poop and Carter to stop doing his homework in the dark. I want Ivy to start going to sleep on her own - for naps and nighttime, and I want to cease the examining of everything they do, thinking it's because of something I've done to make them this way, or that. Or what I'm turning them into.

We have so many good days. SO many. Maybe that's why the bads come as more of a shock. I don't know. Because it can deceive my mind into erasing when I do get it right and only focusing on what I get wrong. And I am an optimist, so I don't let on, I don't speak it out, and I certainly don't write it out, and instead hoard it within.

And maybe it's what we do, we all walk around with small talk on our sleeves and our hearts coffin-ed somewhere deep; we distract and are distracted and we make fun of anyone that makes us uncomfortable. Because we think that's how it's supposed to be.

March 5, 2011

"in my veins" or "in my blood" it's true

It was in my step and in the air and then like that, all signs of spring had vanished and snow fell cold and wet today. Boo.

This week was good. It started off so bad. But the ending is what matters I suppose. And so, yay.

Yesterday, as I made the sky-dreary drive to my Mommal's house, flashes of beginning lines, paragraphs, chapters kept surging through my mind (and you know how when people say "in my veins" or "in my blood" it's true, I felt it there) - this urgency to get myself somewhere to write... a book. And the shocking thing to me is, that, the book(s) I want to write are (mostly) fiction. Normally this feeling has only arrived in autumn, since I was very little. This is new.

Last night hubs and I saw a play and it was home for me, it was a gift to myself, for so long I put that life away- I have no idea why, like I thought I had to choose between some of the arts I crave and being a mother. Hello, I am seeing the importance of my children seeing me doing something I enjoy. I always ask them what they dream of, what they want to be, what they wish. What if they turn those questions on me?

On Ivy, puffer- gymboree, dress- miniboden, 
jeans- tea collection, socks- target, shoes- converse

One of my favorite blogs, Mama Loves Papa just launched a wonderful new weekly feature: Small Style. You know I love this. I occasionally feature "As Seen on Ivy" and finally put a tab at the top of the blog up there, for future reference and such.

March 3, 2011

March FOUR

kind of

You'd think that as my children get older it would be easier to photograph them.

Not really.

March FOUR 

It took me forever to finally find it, but here's a similar pose of all four from ONE year ago. For real?

And such an original spot- check out TWO years ago here and here. Oh dear.

I used to take photos of my kids on the first of every month, now it's on the fourth. Four for four... get it? You can see past month photos here.

March 1, 2011

Did you hear?!

 Listen To Your Mother!

The Listen To Your Mother Valparaiso show cast has been announced.

I don't think I have resumed normal breathing just yet.

I also have to tell you that I couldn't have gotten through the final casting process without the genius and heart of my best friend Sarah Bane. xoxo to her times a million.

You are marking May 7, 7pm at the Valparaiso Memorial Opera House on your calendar right now, yes? Tickets on sale soon-ish.

The show will also be made available for viewing online, after the production.

Be there if you can, and bring tissues.

And be prepared to never be the same.